The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main eventsjob vacancies, learning opportunities, as well as other useful resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us on X (Twitter)FacebookLinkedInInstagram, and Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

While the Palais des Nations remains closed this week, the International Environment House I has reopened!

Image of the week | People gathered at the Geneva Christmas Market 2023 with a view of the Jet d’Eau. Our update “Green Winter in Geneva 2023/2024” showcases a selection of environment-related activities, outdoor excursions, conferences, and more in Geneva. © UNEP/GEN, Claudia Schiavelli, 2023.

2024 and the Global Environmental Agenda

Happy New Year to all! After another busy year in 2023 that led to the adoption of decisions to tackle the triple planetary crisis, various key events for the future of our planet are scheduled to take place around the world this year. Consult our updated page on the International Environmental Negotiations Agenda.

Among the international meetings planned this year in Geneva, of particular interest:

  • 19 February – 1 March | 8th meeting of the intergovernmental negotiating body on the Pandemic Treaty | INB8
  • 24 February | 20 Years of Rotterdam Convention
  • 26 February – 5 April | 55th session of the Human Rights Council | HRC55
  • 13 – 14 March | Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region
  • 18 – 29 March | 9th meeting of the intergovernmental negotiating body on the Pandemic Treaty | INB9
  • 17 May | 20 Years of Stockholm Convention
  • 27 May – 1 June | 77th World Health Assembly | WHA77
  • 2 – 13 June | 112th session of the International Labour Conference | ILC112
  • 3 – 7 June | 63rd meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on Wetlands | SC63
  • 17 – 21 June | 3rd session of the Open-Ended Working Group on a Science-Policy Panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution | OEWG-3
  • 18 June – 12 July | 56th session of the Human Rights Council | HRC56
  • 24 – 26 April | 12th meeting of the Ozone Research Managers of the Parties to the Vienna Convention
  • 24 – 28 June | 14th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention | OEWG-14
  • 8 – 19 July | CITES 27th meeting of the Plants Committee and 33rd meeting of the Animals Committee | CITES PC27 & AC33
  • 9 September – 9 October | 57th session of the Human Rights Council | HRC57
  • November | 13th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights
  • TBC | 13th Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents

Other international meetings planned around the world of particular interest for the global environmental agenda and international Geneva:

  • 16 – 19 January | Sixtieth session of the IPCC | IPCC-60 | Istanbul, Türkiye
  • 23 – 25 January | Bern III Conference on Cooperation among the Biodiversity-related Conventions for the Implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework | Bern, Switzerland
  • 12 – 17 February | 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals | CMS COP 14 | Samarkand, Uzbekistan
  • 26 to 29 February | 13th WTO Ministerial Conference | MC13 | Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • 26 February – 1 March | 6th session of the UN Environment Assembly | UNEA-6 | Nairobi, Kenya
  • 21 – 30 April | Plastic Pollution INC-4 | Ottawa, Canada
  • 22 – 23 September | Summit of the Future | New York, USA
  • 24 September | High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance | New York, USA
  • 21 October – 1 November | UN Biodiversity Conference (including CBD COP-16) | Colombia
  • 23 – 25 October | UN Water Convention MoP10 | Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 28 October – 1 November | Joint 13th COP Vienna Convention & 36th MOP Montreal Protocol | Bangkok, Thailand
  • 4 – 5 November | 4th Global High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance | Saudi Arabia
  • 11 – 24 November | Climate Change COP29 | Baku, Abseron, Azerbaijan
  • 25 November – 1 December | Plastic Pollution INC-5 | Busan, Republic of Korea
  • 2 – 13 December | 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification | UNCCD COP-16 | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 10 – 16 December | 11th session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services | IPBES 11 | Namibia

Ongoing decades:

2024 is also the:

The year 2024 will see important advancements and the potential conclusion of two processes that kicked off at the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in 2022:

  • Ending Plastic Pollution Agenda | The fourth and fifth sessions of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution will take place respectively from 21 – 30 April 2024, in Ottawa, Canada, and from 25 November – 1 December in Busan, Republic of Korea. The INC Plastic Pollution Secretariat will report on the progress in the implementation of resolution 5/14 to the 6th session of UNEA (UNEA-6). At the 3rd session (INC-3), delegates mandated the Secretariat to compile a “revised zero-draft text”. On 28 December 2023, the INC Secretariat released the advance copy of the Revised draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (UNEP/PP/INC.4/3). The final document will be made available in all six UN languages on the INC-4 website six weeks before the meeting. The application deadline for travel support to participate in INC-4 has been extended for both Members and Observers to a final deadline of 12 January 2024, 23:59 East Africa Time.
  • Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution | The third session of the ad hoc open-ended working group on a science-policy panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution (OEWG-3) will take place from 17 to 21 June in Geneva. It will build on the significant progress achieved at OEWG-2 in Nairobi last December.

Recent resources on what to expect in 2024 include:

  • Towards sustainability: a look ahead to environmental moments in 2024 | UNEP | 29 December 2023
  • World Economic Situation and Prospects 2024 | UNDESA | 4 January 2024
    The UN’s flagship economic report presents a sombre economic outlook for the near term. The prospects of a prolonged period of tighter credit conditions and higher borrowing costs present strong headwinds for a world economy saddled with debt, while in need of more investments to resuscitate growth, fight climate change, and accelerate progress towards the SDGs.
  • 24 Predictions for 2024 | Grist | 3 January 2024
    Grist reporters shared their 24 predictions for 2024. Their forecasts depict a world on the cusp of change in regard to climate, keeping an eye on, from hard-won international financial commitments to battles over mining in-demand minerals like lithium, to the expansion of renewable energy.

Making the Environment Central to Health Discussions

In the past year, the importance of the environment in preventing and addressing health issues was further highlighted and strengthened with the mainstreaming environment in health discussions and vice versa. From the historic adoption of a resolution on the Impact of Chemicals, Waste, and Pollution on Human Health at the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly (WHA76.17) to the organization of the first Health Day at the Climate Change COP28, the year 2023 paved the way for ever-increasing synergies. On the sidelines of the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly (WHA77) to be held from 27 May – 1 June 2024, the 2024 Geneva Health Forum Conference will run from 27 to 29 May, giving special attention to the interlinks between health and the environment dedicating part of the conference to this theme.

This week is the last chance to submit abstracts for presentations during the 2024 Geneva Health Forum Conference. Individuals and organizations are invited to submit their ideas for a 15-minute oral presentation or a poster presentation that can further the collective understanding of global health challenges and solution pathways. The call for abstracts is open until 15 January 2024. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a transformative dialogue and action-oriented event that can shape the future of global health.

Greening the Blue Report | United Nations Walking the Talk

The 2023 edition of the Greening the Blue Report was launched on 21 December 2023. The yearly publication collects and analyses information provided by entities on their environmental impacts and publishes this data and case studies. Numerous UN agencies and secretariats headquartered in Geneva have contributed to this annual report highlighting the environmental impacts of over 308,000 personnel in 57 entities across headquarters, field offices and operations on the ground. Read more about how International Geneva is going green.

The Greening the Blue initiative is managed by the UN Environment Programme Sustainable United Nations (SUN) Facility and aims to engage and support the UN System in the transition towards greater environmental sustainability in the management of its facilities and operations.

Welcome to the New WMO Secretary-General

Prof. Celeste Saulo officially took up her role as the new WMO Secretary-General on 1 January 2024, heralding a new era for the weather, water, and climate community for the upcoming four years. Prof. Saulo previously served as the Director of the National Meteorological Service of Argentina since 2014 and was the first Vice-President of the WMO.

We all know climate change is a top priority on the global agenda. We must support every country, every region, and the world in adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Professor Celeste Saulo, WMO Secretary-General, 4 January 2024.

She succeeds Prof. Petteri Taalas, who completed his two-term mandate at WMO during the warmest eight-year period in recorded history.

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • Let’s talk about solutions | Cyril Brunner | ETH Zürich | 4 January 2024
    Reports in the media on climate change consist primarily of information on its extent and dangers, focusing on extreme events, disasters and records. The negative messages are frightening and depressing. People’s reactions to this are varied. Some are indifferent, others turn away, some doubt. There are also more and more people who are seriously worried about their future or that of their children. This is known as climate anxiety or eco-​anxiety.
  • ‘Polluter pays’ doctrine will take on new meaning | Reuters | 4 January 2024
    The approach, known as extended producer responsibility, is also at the centre of discussions around a United Nations treaty to end plastic pollution, to be finalised in 2024. To be effective, however, the “polluter pays” doctrine has to impose sufficiently high financial contributions to deter overproduction. […] Targets to reduce the use of virgin plastic, which has increased by 11% globally since 2018, are also sorely needed, although oil-producing countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia are against legally binding caps.
  • Impacts for half of the world’s mining areas are undocumented | Victor Maus & Tim T. Werner| Nature | 3 January 2024
    Mining is a crucial industry — from iron and copper to gravel and sand, we depend on it for the basic building blocks of the modern world. It is a fast-changing sector, as the clean energy transition and digitalization boost demand for materials such as cobalt and lithium and curb the need for others, such as fossil fuels. Yet we know surprisingly little about what’s going on in the sector globally and how mining affects the environment and communities near mines.
  • Navigating the trade and environment nexus: A call for actionable equitable policies | The Economic Times | 1 January 2024
    As the global community grapples with climate change, plastic waste, biodiversity loss, and pollution, the need for a balanced approach that fosters sustainable development, meaning the triumvirate of economy, equity, and ecology, is more crucial than ever.
  • World will look back at 2023 as year humanity exposed its inability to tackle climate crisis, scientists say | The Guardian | 29 December 2023
    The hottest year in recorded history casts doubts on humanity’s ability to deal with a climate crisis of its own making, senior scientists have said.
  • Looking back at top moments for the environment in 2023 | UNEP | 28 December 2023
    In 2023, countries came together in unprecedented ways to tackle the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. This environmental multilateralism led to landmark pacts to end chemical pollution and transition the world away from fossil fuels.
  • After COP28, questions remain for communities struggling with climate change | UNEP | 27 December 2023
    […]while progress was made at COP28, not nearly enough financing has been devoted to helping communities adapt to extreme weather, which is expected to become more common as the Earth’s climate changes. 
  • Fisheries subsidies chair circulates new text in “final push” to reach agreement at MC13 | WTO | 21 December 2023
    The chair of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland,  circulated a new draft text on curbing subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing to help members push the negotiations over the finish line at the 13th Ministerial Conference in late February 2024.
  • WMO issues new guidelines on evaluation of weather and climate extremes | WMO | 20 December 2023
    The new guidelines describe the process for evaluating and verifying a weather or climate record, including what is involved in the evaluations and how decisions are made, who leads the process and how additional experts are selected, the scientific and measurement challenges, and the importance of collaborating with national meteorological authorities and international climate experts in the verification of new records.
  • What does the precedent-setting Global Framework on Chemicals mean for people and the planet? | UNEP | 19 December 2023
    The year 2023 was a landmark one for the global governance of chemicals and waste, with negotiations on a science-policy panel for sound chemical management and talks on an instrument to end plastic pollution both making headway. September marked a critical moment as well, as policymakers adopted a new global framework for the safe and sustainable management of chemicals and waste, which experts say will complement global goals to achieve sustainable developmentstop biodiversity loss and curb plastic pollution. 
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Afterwork

Climate Fresk

08 Jan 2024 18:00 – 21:00

Espace 3DD

Association la Fresque du climat

Local

Conversation Carbone

10 Jan 2024 18:30 – 20:30

Centre de quartier de la Jonction

Eco-Impact, City of Geneva

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17 Apr 2024

Ongoing Contests