The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, as well as other useful learning resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.
In light with the recent developments in the sanitary situation, institutions in Geneva are operating in hybrid format. Our update on COVID-19 and the environment lists relevant information.
Image of the week | View of the Mont Blanc from Geneva © UNEP/GEN, Pablo Lopez.
Furthering Climate Action in Response to Science
Last week, at the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contribution of Working Group II to the 6th Assessment Report on Climate Change, IPCC Chair emphasized that “the report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction. It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our well-being and a healthy planet”. Rather than desperation, these results call for urgent and ambitious efforts, as “our actions today will shape how people adapt to climate change and how nature responds to increasing climate risks.”
In response to the report, COP26 Presidency and the designate COP27 Presidency have issued a joint statement, reaffirming their commitment to furthering climate action which responds to the science. In that spirit, they are convening a COP26-COP27 Briefing in Geneva, on the findings of the report to strengthen the global response for protecting communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Speakers will outline how to take forward the progress made in Glasgow to COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, priorities for the global climate agenda in light of the new IPCC report, and practical steps the humanitarian, development, and other international communities can take to ensure we heed the warnings. This event is organized with the support of the Geneva Environment Network, on Monday 7 March, at 15:00 CET, in hybrid format. → Register to attend in person at the World Meteorological Organization or online on webex.
UN Environment Assembly Makes History
The United Nations Environment Assembly made history last week, by adopting 14 resolutions, including a resolution setting up the path to a global treaty to end plastic pollution. The resolution requests the convening of an intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, during the second half of 2022, with the ambition of completing its work by the end of 2024. An ad-hoc open-ended working group will convene during the first half of 2022 to prepare for the work of the intergovernmental negotiating committee.
Rather than the end of the journey, this resolution represents a new turning point, from which much work still has to be done. The Geneva Environment Network looks forward to support all actors, in the Geneva community and beyond, engaged in this process.
Aside from plastic pollution, the Assembly reached significant outcomes to address the triple planetary crisis. Notably, delegates agreed to establish a Science-Policy Panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution (UNEP/EA5/L14/REV.1), and launched work to address the environmental impacts of mineral resources throughout their lifecycle (UNEP/EA5/L18/REV.1).
The concluding Ministerial Declaration recognized the risk for future pandemics and other health risks if humanity doesn’t overhaul its patterns of interaction with nature by adopting a holistic approach such as One Health. And at the two-days special session of the Assembly marking the 50th anniversary of the UN Environment Programme, heads of State raised a united plea for multilateral action. Read more at:
- UN Environment Assembly concludes with 14 resolutions to curb pollution, protect and restore nature worldwide | UNEP | 2 March 2022
- The world just took a step toward ending plastic pollution. Now let’s seize the moment. | Marco Lambertini | WWF | 2 March 2022
- UNEA 5.2: Historic Advances on Global Plastics Treaty, Chemicals | CIEL | 2 March 2022
- UNEP combats pollution, restores ozone and protects seas, UN chief tells 50th anniversary session | UN News | 3 March 2022
- Heads of State affirm commitment to environmental cooperation at UNEP golden jubilee celebration | UNEP | 4 March 2022
- Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) providing daily coverage
Environment at the Human Rights Council
The 49th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC49) continues this week in Geneva, with a number of environmental topics on the agenda. Throughout the session, running until 1 April, regular updates on key issues at HRC49, side-events and further resources will be available on our dedicated webpage. This week, the Human Rights Council will discuss two reports of high relevance for international environmental governance:
- Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment | The right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment: non-toxic environment | 10 March, 16.00 – 18.00 CET
- Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food | Seeds, right to life, and farmers rights | 11 March, 16.30 – 18.00 CET
Side events and parallel event of particular interest this week include:
- Conservation NGOs at Risk | 9 March, 14:30-15:30 CET
Launch of the new report “Conservation NGOs at Risk : The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and shrinking environmental civic spaces” on the shrinking civic spaces, deteriorating conditions and attacks faced by conservation NGOs across the world, organized by the University of Geneva, IUCN CEESP, and the Geneva Environment Network, as part of the ongoing work of the Geneva Roadmap 40/11 for environmental defenders. The report by the University of Geneva, issued a few days before the critical global gathering to hammer out a new global biodiversity agenda in Geneva, underlines the importance of enabling environments to secure effective and equitable conservation. → Register on Webex and join us online on Wednesday 9 March at 14:30 CET.
- Side event The IPCC 2022 Climate Change Report and its Relationship with the Effective Enjoyment of the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment | 10 March, 12.30 CET
Organized by the Human Rights Council Core Groups on Human Rights & Environment, Human Rights & Climate Change, and on the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change, at the Centre of Conference of Varembé and online, on 10 March at 12:30 CET.
- The 20th edition of the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights continues in parallel to the HRC session. The programme includes a series of powerful and inspiring films showcasing stories where people’s rights and the environment are deeply intertwined. At the Impact Days on 7 and 8 March, filmmakers, producers, NGOs, and foundations get together to find alliances and strategies, increase the quality and results of their joint actions and positively impact the world we live in.
Celebrating International Women’s Day
This International Women’s Day, 8 March, join UN Women and the world in coming together under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, and call for climate action for women, by women.
Events to celebrate the day include:
- Round Table: SDG 5 Into Environmental Policies and Practices | UNITAR | 7 March, 20:30 CET
- Promoting Gender Equality in the Implementation of the Convention | Minamata Convention | 8 March, 14:00-15:00 CET
- Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow : Ensuring a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment | UN Women & Germany | 9 March, 13:00-14:30 CET
- #GGKPwebinar Inclusive green economies: No just transition without gender equality | GGKP | 9 March, 14:00-15:30 CET
March 2022: Shaping the Global Biodiversity Agenda
March 2022 is an important month for shaping the global biodiversity agenda, after the UN Environment Assembly, additional negotiations include:
- 74th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee | 7 to 11 March 2022 in Lyon
A briefing on the 74th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES SC74) provided update from CITES Secretariat and France on preparations.
- Intergovernmental Conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction | 7-18 March in New York
- CBD Resumed Sessions of SBSTTA-24, SBI-3 and WG2020-3 | 13-29 March in Geneva
A briefing on the CBD Resumed Sessions of SBSTTA-24, SBI-3 and WG2020-3 provided updates on preparations from the CBD Secretariat, the Chairs and Co-Chairs, as well as Switzerland.
Preparatory events to the Convention of Biological Diversity Resumed Sessions start already this week in Geneva. Among the preparatory events open to all stakeholders:
- Conservation NGOs at Risk | Unige, IUCN CESSP, Earthjustice, GEN | Online | 9 March, 14:30-15:30 CET
- Vital Sites – OECMs: What are they? What counts? | IUCN WCPA | Online | 9 March, 9:00 CET
- Indigenous and Community Contributions to Realising Transformative Change: a Film Screening and Reception | FPP, SweBio, & others | Club Suisse de la Presse, Château de Penthes | 12 March, 19:00 CET
Green Innovation Challenge for Youth
The Trade and Environment Division of the WTO is inviting teenagers worldwide to join the WTO Future Green Innovators challenge. This challenge is for 12-18 year olds worldwide with a forward-thinking idea to tackle an environmental issue and is running until 31 March.
To enter the challenge, young people should pitch their eco-friendly idea in a short video and share it on social media with the hashtag #WTOFutureGreenInnovators. Their idea could be about how to manufacture something in a more sustainable manner, how to consume less energy, or how to reduce plastic or e-waste. It could be about an everyday product that they have tweaked into a more environmentally friendly substitute. It might even be a vision of technology for the future or a practical solution for a local environmental concern.
What (Else) Should I Read Next?
- Beyond the Limits: New IPCC WG II Report Highlights How Gambling on Overshoot is Pushing the Planet Past a Point of No Return | CIEL and Heinrich Boell Foundation | February 2022
This analysis examines the IPCC Working Group II report’s findings and significance for overshoot scenarios, technologies and approaches common to those scenarios, and the implications of climate change and responses to it for human rights, Indigenous rights, and social justice.
- Environmental Organisations calls upon UN and Member States to Act on Ukraine | PAX | 1 March 2022
In response to serious threats to public health and impact on Ukraine’s environment linked to the war, 108 civil society groups send out a statement to States and the UN to express solidarity and call for action.
- Open Letter on the Environmental Dimensions of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine | EnPAX | 3 March 2022
More than 900 international law, environment, and peacebuilding experts and more than 155 organizations warn that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses profound risks not only to the sovereignty and human rights of the Ukrainian people but to the environment of Ukraine and the wider European region.
Present military offensive against Ukraine and protection of environmental defenders | UNECE Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee | 27 February 2022
Letter from the Chair of the Compliance Committee under the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), raising concerns for security of environmental human rights defenders in Ukraine.
- Contributions of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to a Healthy Ocean | UNEP | 3 March 2022
Through a robust body of evidence, the UN-led Regional Seas Programme convenes and coordinates countries and institutions, and undertakes ecosystem-based planning and management to progress towards a healthy ocean and healthy people.
- Executive Briefing on the Second Segment of the Fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4.2) | Geneva Environment Network | 2 March 2022
Outcomes of the briefing organized by the Geneva Environment Network, the Minamata Convention and Indonesia.
- IUCN’s four new Centres set to deliver innovative action for nature | IUCN | 4 March 2022
In response to the escalating nature and climate crises, including the urgent need for greater conservation finance and inclusive governance, IUCN has announced the creation of four new Centres that will help deliver on the global goals for sustainable development.
28 Feb – 01 Apr 2022
Palais des Nations | Room XIX & Online
07 Mar 2022 15:00 – 17:00
Online & WMO | Room Obasi
07 Mar 2022 20:30 – 21:45
08 Mar 2022
Rencontre MIA « Quel partenariat mon association peut-elle développer avec le programme cantonal nature en ville ? »
08 Mar 2022 12:15 – 13:30
Maison Internationale des Associations
Maison Internationale des Associations, Republic and State of Geneva
08 Mar 2022 14:00 – 15:00
Minamata Convention on Mercury
09 Mar 2022 09:00
Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow : Ensuring a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment
09 Mar 2022 13:00 – 14:30
Palais des Nations, Room XXVI & Online
UN Women, Permanent Mission of Germany to the Office of the United Nations and to Other International Organizations in Geneva
09 Mar 2022 14:00 – 15:30
09 Mar 2022 14:30 – 15:30
Online | Webex
10 Mar 2022 08:30 – 12:00
Immeuble Soubeyran | Rue Soubeyran 7
Republic and State of Geneva
10 Mar 2022 13:00 – 15:00
HRC49 Side Event | The IPCC 2022 Climate Change Report and its Relationship with the Effective Enjoyment of the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment
10 Mar 2022 12:30
Varembé Conference Center, Room Genève & Online
HRC Core Group Human Rights & Environment, HRC Core Group on Human Rights & Climate Change, HRC Core Group on Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change
FIFDH Film Screening & Discussion | Dear Future Children & Activistes, New Generation ! Un militantisme d’urgence
10 Mar 2022 19:00
Espace Pitoëff (Grande Salle) | Rue de Carouge 52
11 Mar 2022 20:45
Espace Pitoëff (Théâtre) | Rue de Carouge 52
12 Mar 2022 16:30
Espace Pitoëff (Théâtre) | Rue de Carouge 52
Indigenous and Community Contributions to Realising Transformative Change: a Film Screening and Reception
12 Mar 2022 19:00 – 21:30
Club Suisse de la Presse | Domaine de Penthes
FPP, Swedbio, IIFB
07 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022
09 Mar 2022
09 Mar 2022
09 Mar 2022
16 Mar 2022
11 Mar 2022
12 Mar 2022
UNEP Chemicals and Health Branch
15 Apr 2022
13 Mar 2022