The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, learning opportunities, as well as other useful resources and updates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some live events organized by organizations around the world, contributing to the global environmental agenda, have also been included. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, most institutions in Geneva are operating virtually. Our update on COVID-19 and the environment lists relevant information, research, data and press releases on the environmental origins and impacts of the pandemic.

Environment @ HRC46

The 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC46) continues this week in Geneva and virtually. Our update on HRC-46 provides relevant information, links and other resources regarding the environmental-related activities of this session. On the agenda this week:

  • As a follow-up to the Human Right Council Resolution 40/11 on the protection of the rights of persons engaged in the defense of the environment, adopted in 2019, the Geneva Road Map 40/11 seeks to ensure the effective implementation of the right to act for the protection of the environment and to promote free and safe spaces for information and discussion on environmental matters. An event co-organized by the University of Geneva and Earthjustice, within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network and under the sponsorship of Norway, in parallel to HRC46 will provide an overview of the efforts underway to protect those working to safeguard the planet, in light of the several major conferences coming up this year. Register on Webex and join on 9 March at 13.30 CET.
  • HRC core group on human rights and the environment – Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland – is expected to issue a statement calling for States to engage in the process of the recognition of the right to a healthy environment at the HRC. This statement is open to co-sponsors.
  • The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), is taking palce from 5-14 March, in parallel to the annual main session of the UN Human Rights Council. The FIFDH Impact Day aims to find potential alliances and strategies that will increase the quality and results of their joint actions to have a positive impact on the world we live in. An informative session for NGOs and Organizations wanting to engage with films will take place on 9 March at 12.30 CET.

High-Level Dialogue on Plastic Governance

The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, organized by the Geneva Environment Network secretariat, in collaboration with the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat, the Center for International Environmental Law, the Global Governance Centre at the Graduate Institute, Norway, and Switzerland, addressed the plastic crisis and supported coordinated approaches that can lead to more efficient decision making. Following the first series of dialogues held in the run-up to UNEA-5.1, a High-Level Dialogue on Plastic Governance will take place on 11 March 2021. It will conclude the first series of dialogues which discussed various aspect of global plastic governance. This High-level dialogue will consider the outcomes of this series and explore the way forward to UNEA 5.2, scheduled in February 2022. Register on Webex and join at 14.00 CET.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day, celebrated each year on 8 March, is a time to reflect on progress made on gender equality, to call for change and to celebrate the contribution of women to numerous challenges around the globe. The theme for 2021, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the occasion to echo the growing call for women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, including in environmental governance.

Environmental decision making – decisions we make for people and planet – need to be inclusive and involve all voices, including equal voices from women. The triple planetary crisis – of climate, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste – places a triple burden on women. According to UN Women, climate-related extreme events can lead to increased violence against women and girls. And we know that biodiversity loss places profound pressures on women and girls as land managers and resource users. And as food producers, women are frequently at greater risk through endocrine-disrupting chemicals in pesticides, or persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director

Among the events planned to commemorate the day:

Our update on Gender and the Environment provides information on women in environment governance, as well as the connections between gender and the environment and international cooperation on the topic.

Preparing for the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

The 2021 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region will be held under the theme “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and action and delivery on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, with a specific focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13 and the 2020 targets. The hybrid plenary sessions will take place on 17-18 March 2021 and will be preceded this week by:

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

  • Tackling marine plastic pollution and protecting our oceans | Inger Andersen | UNEP | 3 March 2021
    Speech from UNEP Executive Direction Inger Andersen at the International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Region, calling for strengthened action to tackle global marine litter and to make our oceans plastic-free
  • Turning the tide: How to finance a sustainable ocean recovery | UNEP Finance Initiative | 2 March 2021
    Practical toolkit for financial institutions to pivot their activities towards financing a sustainable blue economy, providing guidance on how to avoid and mitigate environmental and social risks and impacts, as well as highlighting opportunities, when providing capital to companies or projects within the blue economy
  • The global water crisis and human rights | Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David Boyd | March 2021
    Executive summary of the report presented by the Special Rapporteur to the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, highlighting the significant impact of water pollution, overuse, and water-related disasters on the enjoyment of human rights of people around the world
  • Working Group Generates Ideas for Financing Chemicals Work Beyond 2020 | IISD | 3 March 2021
    A virtual working group advancing work on financing for the Beyond 2020 chemicals framework supported a proposal to establish a clearinghouse mechanism to track development aid, and said the eighth GEF replenishment should prioritize building on established areas of international concern.
  • Civil society call for fishing subsidies deal welcomed by Dr Ngozi and negotiations chair | WTO | 1 March 2021
    Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala welcomed civil society’s plea for a successful conclusion to the fisheries subsidies negotiations, illustrated through a fish ice sculpture set up by a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in front of the WTO headquarters
  • UNFCCC: Climate commitments ‘not on track’ to meet Paris Agreement Goals | ClimateAction | 2 March 2021
    Review of the Initial NDC Synthesis Report published by UNFCCC, revealing that nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve Paris Agreement goals
  • The developing world must get ready to adapt its trade to climate change | WEF | 3 March 2021
    The acting Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Isabelle Durant, calls for strengthened adaptation measures to ensure ‘trade-climate readiness’ and economic resilience necessary to achieve the future development goals of developing countries
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