Given the continued uncertainties arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including those related to restrictions on travel and large physical gatherings, major environmental negotiations initially scheduled to take place in 2020-2021 have been postponed.
UN Environment Assembly (UNEA)
On 9 October 2020, the Bureau of the UN Environmental Assembly agreed that the Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) will take place in two-parts. The first session (UNEA-5.1) was conducted virtually on 22-23 February 2021. Substantive matters that require in-depth negotiations will be deferred to an physical session of UNEA-5 (UNEA-5.2), scheduled from 28 February to 2 March 2022.
However, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the global environmental agenda, discussions are ongoing with Member States on possible options on format and timing for the resumed session of UNEA-5.
Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS MEAs)
Basel Convention OEWG
On 9 July 2020, the Bureau of the OEWG of the Basel Convention agreed to hold the OEWG-12 according to two components consisting of an online segment and a face-to-face segment. The online segment consisted of two virtual sessions held over two days, 1 September 2020 and 3 September 2020. The face-to-face segment of OEWG-12, previously scheduled for 1-4 March 2021, has been postponed to 2022.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, decided to hold the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (BC COP-15), the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (RC COP-10) and the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP-10) meetings in two segments: online on 26-30 July 2021 and face-to-face held over two weeks in 6-17 June 2022.
The theme of the meetings and the high-level segment is “Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound management of chemicals and waste“.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework
CBD hosted a press conference on 12 July to introduce the first draft of the post-2020 biodiversity framework. The was discussed by the Parties and Stakeholders during the first part of the third meeting of the WG2020 held online in August-September 2021 and will be negotiated in a future in-person resumed session. Physical meetings of resumed sessions for SBSTTA-24, SBI-3 and WG2020-3, scheduled to be held in Geneva in January 2022, have been postponed due to the uncertainties posed by the Omicron variant and resulting travel measures and restrictions. The meetings are to be rescheduled for later in 2022, with dates under discussion.
3rd OEWG on the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework
The 3rd Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (WG2020-3) was held virtually on 23 August – 3 September 2021. Sessions scheduled to be held in Geneva in January 2022, have been postponed due to the uncertainties posed by new COVID-19 restrictions.
CBD Notification | 4 June 2021
“Pre-COP” meeting hosted by the President of Colombia in the Colombian Amazon with fellow members of the High Ambition Group for Nature and signatories of the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, took place on 30 August 2021.
WG2020 and Subsidiary Bodies
The following sessions scheduled to be held in Geneva in January 2022, have been postponed due to the uncertainties posed by the Omicron variant and resulting travel measures and restrictions. These are to be rescheduled for later in 2022, with dates under discussion.
- Open-Ended Working Group (WG2020) on the Post-2020 Global Framework Agreement
- CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24)
- CBD Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 3)
The 15th Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-15), originally scheduled for October 2020, is taking place in two parts. The first part of the meetings took place virtually from 11 to 15 October 2021. Reconvening in face-to-face meetings in Kunming, China, the second part, originally scheduled from 25 April to 8 May 2022, is likely to be rescheduled to a later date within the year.
The Conference included: 15th meeting of the COP to the Convention; 10th meeting of the COP serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol; and 4th meeting of the COP serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol. Critical areas of work were addressed with the Conference adopting an interim integrated budget for 2022. Progress reports from the Co-Chairs of the Open-ended Working Group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and from the chairs of the Convention’s subsidiary bodies were also delivered.
One of the outcomes is that Parties to the Convention endorsed the Kunming Ministerial Declaration committing to negotiate a post-2020 global biodiversity framework that is effective in bending the curve of biodiversity loss – and matched by the necessary resources, and with an effective mechanism to monitor and review progress, in line with the Convention and its two protocols.
Geneva and the UN Biodiversity Conference
On 2 November, an Executive Briefing on the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, took place. With the adoption of the Kunming Declaration, this first segment of the Conference in October set the stage for the adoption of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the resumption of the meeting in Spring 2022. At this Executive Briefing, the Convention on Biological Diversity Executive Secretary, Elisabeth Mrema, highlighted the outcomes of the first part of the UN Biodiversity Conference as well as present the Convention workplan in the run-up to the second part of the conference, including the intermediary body meetings scheduled to take place in Geneva in January 2022. This event was also be the occasion to highlight the contributions of other major actors of the biodiversity cluster in Geneva and their expectations and next steps planned for the upcoming year.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
Conference of the Parties
The 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP19) will be held in Panama City, Panama on 14 – 25 November 2022.
Animal and Plants Committee
The 31st Meeting of the Animals Committee (AC31) and the 25th Meeting of the Plants Committee (PC25) took place virtually on 31 May – 23 June 2021.
CITES Notification | 15 March 2021
Intersessional Work of the Animals Committee 2020-2021
Summary Record of AC31 | 16 November 2021
Summary Record of PC25 | 16 November 2021
The 74th meeting of the Standing Committee is tentatively scheduled to be held in France, from 7 to 11 March 2022. Details of the precise location will be provided in due course.
CITES Notification | 18 November 2021
The 73rd Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee took place online on 5-7 May 2021.
A webpage has been created to provide information on the Intersessional Work of the Standing Committee 2020-2021.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Congress
The IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 took place on 3-11 September 2021 in Marseille.
- Forum | 4-7 September
- Exhibition | 4-9 September
- IUCN Members’ Assembly | 8-10 September with a first sitting at the beginning of the Congress
- Nature Generation Areas or “Espaces Générations Nature” | 4-11 September
Minamata Convention on Mercury
Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4)
The 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention is taking place in two segments. The first segment was held online on 1-5 November 2021 and while the second part will be in-person in the 21-25 March 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.
Summary of first segment of COP4: Parties to the Minamata Convention reinforce their commitment to stopping mercury pollution in a fully online session | 5 November 2021
Communication from the Bureau | 30 April 2021
Geneva Executive Briefing
On 19 October 2021, an Executive Briefing on the online segment of the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) was organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network.
Read the summary | 19 October 2021
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention)
Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP14)
The fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties will occur on 21 to 29 November 2022, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to be held in Wuhan, China, the theme of COP14 is “Wetland Actions for People and Nature“.
Third Extraordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (ExCOP3)
The third extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties took place online from 25 to 29 October 2021 with a resumed session on 4 November, adopting two resolutions on the postponement of COP14 and on the 2022 core budget of the Convention on Wetlands.
The 59th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on Wetlands held a resumed online session on 15 November 2021. The resumed session of its 59th Meeting will take place between 23 May and 27 May 2022, with the possibility of extending the session for another two days if required once the provisional agenda has been finalized.
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)
The Fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), originally scheduled on 5-9 October 2020, was first postponed to July 2021. On 27 January 2021, the Bureau decided to further postpone the conference until further notice due to the sanitary conditions. Read the latest Message from ICCM5 President.
The ICCM5 Bureau and the co-chairs of the Intersessional Process (IP) have proposed that the intersessional process continues its work on some key issues through a variety of virtual means, including online Technical Briefings.
UN Convention on Climate Change
The 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the UNFCCC will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Originally expected to take place this year, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, COP 27 will take place from 7-18 November 2022.
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) COP26, was the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, held at the SEC Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, from 1 to 13 November 2021.
Geneva and COP26
On 21 October 2021, the United Kingdom Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva joined the Geneva Environment Network for a briefing on the opportunities and challenges to address climate change ahead of the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, on 31 October – 12 November 2021.
Read the summary of event | 21 October 2021
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has rescheduled the approval sessions for the Working Group II and Working Group III contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) and for the Synthesis Report.
Press Release | 28 May 2021
Working Group I
The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, finalized on 6 August 2021 during the 14th Session of Working Group I and 54th Session of the IPCC, is the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations.
Working Group II
The Working Group II report, which assesses climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability is scheduled to be released at the end of February 2022.
Working Group III
The Working Group III report, which assesses the mitigation of climate change, is scheduled to be released at the end of March 2022.
The Synthesis Report, which will integrate the findings of the three Working Groups and the three Special Reports already released in this assessment cycle, is scheduled to be released on 3 October 2022.
UN Convention to Combat Desertification
The 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP-15) is postponed and will be rescheduled between May and October 2022. The venue will be confirmed in due course.
UNCCD News | 23 April 2021
UN Food Systems Summit
The Pre-Summit gathering for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit was held in Rome, Italy, on 19-21 July 2021.
The Food Systems Summit took place on 23 September alongside the UN General Assembly in New York.
UN Ocean Conference
On 9 September 2021, the General Assembly adopted the draft decision (A/75/578) entitled “2022 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources for sustainable development,” by which the Assembly decides to convene the Conference from 27 June to 1 July 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal and that the Governments of Kenya and Portugal shall retain co-hosting responsibilities.
The decision further provides the schedules of plenary meetings and interactive dialogues and requests the President of the General Assembly to appoint two co-facilitators to conclude the intergovernmental consultations on the declaration of the Conference by May 2022; and to finalize the organizational arrangements for the Conference no later than May 2022. More information about the Conference and its preparatory process will be provided in due course.
UN Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea
The United Nations Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, on the topic of “Sea-level rise and its impacts”, originally scheduled in June 2020, was held virtually pn 14-18 June 2021.
Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference
The host country, Republic of Cyprus, and partner organizations and representatives to the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP) Bureau agreed to recommend to the Committee on Environmental Policy to reschedule the 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference on 5-7 October 2022.
WTO Ministerial Conference
The WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), originally scheduled for June 2020 and rescheduled for December 2021 in Geneva, has been postponed indefinitely, due to travel restrictions linked with the pandemic. The Conference will be chaired by Kazakhstan’s Minister of Trade and Integration, Bakhyt Sultanov, as approved by WTO members in December 2019. More information and updates can be found on the WTO website.
An additional ministerial meeting was hosted by the head of the World Trade Organization on 15 July 2021, with a focus on fisheries subsidies.
The General Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted a draft resolution on International Meeting “Stockholm+50: A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity” (A/75/L.88), to convene an international meeting in Stockholm on 2-3 June 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm that gave birth to the United Nations Environment Programme.
Global Environment Facility
3rd meeting for the 8th Replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund
The 3rd meeting for the 8th Replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-8) is happening online on 2-4 February 2022.
As the negotiations in the GEF-8 proceed, a High-Level Panel is organized in order for leading experts to present the status of the replenishment negotiations. Discussions will focus on the GEF support to the implementation of the obligations stemming from the chemicals and waste MEAs, the need to increase the chemicals and waste portfolio, and other thematics under this cluster, such as links with the climate and biodiversity portfolios.
Register for the event | 14 January 2022