Newsletter 08 Aug 2022
Environment: What’s Up in GENeva | 8 – 14 August 2022
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 resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.
Historic Recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment for All
With 161 votes in favour and 8 abstentions, the UN General Assembly adopted on 28 July a landmark resolution, co-sponsored by over 100 Member States from all regions, recognizing the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right. The resolution, based on a similar text adopted in October 2021 by the Human Rights Council, calls upon States, international organizations, and business enterprises to scale up efforts to ensure a healthy environment for all.
This resolution sends a message that nobody can take nature, clean air and water, or a stable climate away from us – at least, not without a fight.
– Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
In a world that too often emphasizes the differences between people, the right to a healthy environment reflects a fundamental truth that should unite us all. Everyone’s health and quality of life depends on clean air, safe water, sustainably produced food, a stable climate, and healthy ecosystems.
– David Boyd, UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment
As we are facing major challenges in dealing with the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, this decision comes at a timely moment and provides a powerful tool to transform societies and protect both people and the planet. While the resolution is not legally binding, it encourages Member States and stakeholders to step up their efforts to ensure that their citizen can live in a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Today is a historic moment, but simply affirming our right to a healthy environment is not enough. The General Assembly resolution is very clear: States must implement their international commitments and scale up their efforts to realize it. We will all suffer much worse effects from environmental crises, if we do not work together to collectively avert them now.
– Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Learn more about this historic decision:
- With 161 Votes in Favour, 8 Abstentions, General Assembly Adopts Landmark Resolution Recognizing Clean, Healthy, Sustainable Environment as Human Right | UNGA | 28 July 2022
- In historic move, UN declares healthy environment a human right | UNEP | 28 July 2022
- Bachelet calls for urgent action to realize human right to healthy environment following recognition by UN General Assembly | OHCHR | 28 July 2022
- Historic day for human rights and a healthy planet: UN expert | Special Procedures | 28 July 2022
- UN General Assembly declares access to clean and healthy environment a universal human right | UN News | 28 July 2022
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
Since 1982, 9 August is celebrated as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, commemorating the day of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, held in Geneva. Indigenous people play an important role as custodians of nature, as they protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity in the ecosystems in which they have lived for centuries. Meanwhile, climate change, deforestation, pollution, loss of biodiversity and other forms of environmental degradation are serious threats to indigenous peoples due to their dependence on the environment and the resources of the lands and territories. → Find all more resources in our update.
In 2022, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples focuses on the role of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge. Indigenous women have a central role in a range of traditional cultural practices inextricably linked to the natural environment. Many indigenous women are also taking the lead in the defense of indigenous peoples’ lands and territories and advocating for indigenous peoples’ collective rights worldwide.
Ending Plastic Pollution: On the Road to Punta del Este
The first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC1) to develop an Internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, will take place in Punta del Este, Uruguay, from 28 November to 2 December 2022, in hybrid format, preceded by a multi-stakeholder forum on 26 November, and regional consultations and a bureau meeting on 27 November. The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogue will soon be back to provide support to this important negotiation. → Consult our resources on plastics and the environment
Member States, members of Specialized Agencies and other relevant stakeholders were invited to make submissions on the sequencing and organization of the INC. Various actors from Geneva and beyond have submitted insightful contributions. → Consult here the INC submissions.
Plastic pollution and potential measures to end continue to make the headlines with growing public and media attention. Find out more at:
- The plastic crisis has deep corporate roots: to protect our planet, they need to be exposed | The Conversation | 4 August 2022
Alice Mah, professor of sociology at the University of Warwick and author of the book “Plastic Unlimited”, dives into the root of the plastic problem, revealing the tactics of the plastic industry to minimize the threats of plastic pollution, divert attention toward solutions which do not hinder the growth of the industry.
- Plastics and Human Health | Geneva Environment Network
As part of our Plastics and the Environment series, this page offers a collection of resources on the matter, in support of upcoming negotiations for the new treaty, which could be an opportunity to better protect human health from the risks associated with plastics.
- Plastics in agriculture – an environmental challenge | 29th Foresight Brief | UNEP | 1 August 2022
The 29th edition of UNEP’s Foresight Brief explores the use of plastic in agriculture and the significant waste problem this entails which impacts on soil health, biodiversity, productivity and food security.
- Protecting the ocean from plastic and chemical waste | Economist Impact | 25 July 2022
Global policymakers take meaningful steps to address the intersecting issues of ocean plastic and chemical pollution.
- Plastic in the Depths: how pollution took over our oceans | The Guardian | 25 July 2022
So much plastic pours into the sea every year that species are now endemic to it. A new Guardian series looks at where it comes from, the harm it does and what can be done about it.
Geneva to Host the 13th International Congress of Ecology: INTECOL 2022
INTECOL 2022, the 13th International Congress of Ecology, will take place from 28 August to 2 September in Geneva and online. This world-renowned congress will gather experts from all over the world to discuss environmental issues, global climate challenges, energy and territorial development, with an outlook on Geneva’s biodiversity. The Congress is organized by the International Association for Ecology (INTECOL), which supports collaboration amongst ecologists and ecological societies across the world. The Geneva Environment Network is a partner organization of the Congress. → As the conference gets closer, do not miss your chance to register. Find more information here.
INTECOL is offering students the opportunity to participate to the Congress by volunteering to support the organization of the event. The Organizing Committee is seeking Swiss and international students interested in providing support over the period of the Congress. More information about tasks and registration modalities are available here.
Two networking sessions open to all are proposed in the margins of INTECOL 2022. Facilitated by the Geneva Environment Network and the University of Geneva, these sessions aim to discuss topics that are at the heart of the global environmental agenda:
- The Value of Nature: Finance for Biodiversity | INTECOL 2022 | 30 August 2022 | CICG, Club l’ésprit de Genève & Online | 17:30–19:00 CEST
- The Triple Planetary Crisis: Breaking Silos | INTECOL & Alternatiba 2022 | 31 August 2022 | CICG, Club l’ésprit de Genève & Online | 13:00–15:00 CEST
New appointments in leadership positions have been announced in environmental Geneva including:
- Musonda Mumba appointed Secretary General of the Wetlands Convention, from October 2022.
- Sylvie Motard designated Acting Regional Director and Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme Europe Office, from 4 August 2022
Every year, numerous civil servants and experts change positions during the summer period. Environmental focal points from various permanent missions have left or are soon leaving their positions in Geneva, and are being replaced for the start of the school year. We wish them the best luck in their new positions and look forward to meet their successors at one of our next sessions. In the meantime, our website is a good source of information!
What (Else) Should I Read Next?
- UN experts call for international investigation into 2020 Beirut explosion | Special Procedures | 3 August 2022
Two years ago, the massive explosion in Beirut destroyed 77,000 apartments, wounded 7,000 people, displaced over 300,000 more and least at least 80,000 children homeless. Now, 37 UN human rights experts – including David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment – are calling on the government and the international community to uphold justice and accountability, by establishing an independent investigation on the matter.
- Colombia: Extreme risks for rights defenders who challenge corporate activity | Special Procedures | 4 August 2022
A number of UN Special Rapporteurs are deploring the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia and calling on the government to do more to protect them. Experts highlight that defenders who raise concerns about business projects, in particular in land-intensive industries, commonly face serious threats.
- Aid for Trade must adapt to channel resources for an effective, green transition | WTO | 28 July 2022
The Aid for Trade Global Review hosted at the WTO on 28 July highlighted the critical role that trade can play in foster sustainable transitions in developing and least developed countries. In the face of climate change, open trade and lowering barriers to environmental goods and services is essential to help these countries access to the technologies needed for a low-carbon future.
- How to avert a global energy crisis? Tax fossil fuels, boost renewables and turn down the heater, says UN | Geneva Solutions | 4 August 2022
As winter gets closer and the threat of energy shortage gets more attention in the media, the new UN report “Global impact of war in Ukraine: Energy crisis” assesses the risks related to the current unstable situation. The report underlines the importance of scale up investment in renewable energy, while reducing overall consumption of fossil fuels and taxing oil and gas excessive profits.
- More than half of data deficient species predicted to be threatened by extinction | Borgelt, J., Dorber, M., Høiberg, M.A. et al. | Communications Biology 5, 679 | 4 August 2022
Presenting machine learning-derived probabilities of being threatened by extinction for 7699 Data Deficient (DD) species, comprising 17% of the entire IUCN spatial datasets. Suggesting that DD species as a group may in fact be more threatened than data-sufficient species: 85% of DD amphibians are likely to be threatened by extinction, as well as more than half of DD species in many other taxonomic groups, such as mammals and reptiles.
- Call for side events at the COP27 Health Pavilion | WHO | 31 July 2022
At UNFCCC COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (6 – 18 November 2022), WHO will convene a special Health Pavilion to foster dialogues among the global health community and beyond and ensure health is at the center of the climate negotiations. Interested parties are invited to submit their application for side-events by 15 September 2022.
Green Summer in Geneva 2022
21 Jun – 15 Sep 2022
The Ocean Decade Exhibition
03 Aug – 05 Sep 2022
Rotonde du Mont-Blanc
UNESCO, City of Geneva
Greening digital technologies | Tackling eWaste
08 Aug 2022 13:00
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022
09 Aug 2022
Scientific Officer (P4)
08 Aug 2022
Principles for Responsible Banking Implementation support coordinator
08 Aug 2022
Researcher, Climate Displacement
09 Aug 2022
Economic Affairs Intern
09 Aug 2022
Independent consultant on just transition policies
10 Aug 2022
Environment Affairs Intern
10 Aug 2022
Traineeship | Education and training for green and inclusive economies
10 Aug 2022
Chief, Partnerships and Communications (P5)
11 Aug 2022
Call for Candidates (Information Technology)
12 Aug 2022
Independent Consultant on Just transition Guidance and Planning
12 Aug 2022
Administrative Support Individual Contractor – Human Resources and Travel
13 Aug 2022
Economic Affairs Officer | Sustainable Energy Section (P4)
27 Aug 2022
26 Aug 2022
11 Jan 2023
Indigenous Peoples and the Role of Geneva
17 Mar 2023
Human Rights and the Environment
13 Mar 2023
17 Mar 2023
Plastics and the Environment
UNEP Europe Office