Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterqSubmit to LinkedIn

Other-edButton  bandeau-new-June2017 cover big April FINAL cover big March3 cover big February-2017 cover big January-final- cover big December FINAL cover big November FINAL cover big October-FINAL cover big September-16-big cover big June 2016 cover big May-FINAL cover big Aprilv7 cover big February02 cover big January2016 cover november2015 grande cover october2015 grande cover big Sept good cover-old July small cover-old June small cover-old June cover-old APRIL cover-old MARCH cover-old feb cover-old cover-old cover oct2014 bandeauhome-sept cover July2 other small coverJune cover-new-May-2014 cover-new-April-2014 cover-new-march-2014 cover feb14  cover-january-2014   
Issue 05 / May 2017 Issue 04/ April 2017 Issue 03/ March 2017 Issue 02/ February 2017 Issue 01 / January 2017 Issue 09 / November 2016 Issue 08 / October 2016 Issue 07 / September 2016 Issue 06 / July/August 2016 Issue 05 / June 2016 Issue 04 / April 2016 Issue 03 / March 2016 Issue 02 / February 2016 Issue 01 / January 2016 Issue 10 / November 2015 Issue 09 / October 2015 Issue 08 / September 2015 Issue 07 / July-August 2015 Issue 06 / June 2015 Issue 05 / May 2015 Issue 04 / April 2015 Issue 03 / March 2015 Issue 02 / February 2015 Issue 01 / January 2015 Issue 10 / November 2014 Issue 09 / October 2014 Issue 08 / September 2014 Issue 07 / July/August 2014 Issue 06 / June 2014 Issue 05 / May 2014 Issue 04 / April 2014 Issue 03 / March 2014  Issue 02 / February 2014 Issue 01 / January 2014
High-Level Dialogue to mark the 15th anniversary of the Geneva Environment Network

A High-Level Dialogue to mark the 15th anniversary of the Geneva Environment Network took place at the International Environment House, on 20 January 2015.


The Geneva Environment Network (GEN) is a cooperative partnership of over 75 environment and sustainable development organizations based in the International Environment House and elsewhere in the Geneva area, including United Nations offices and programmes, non-governmental organizations, local authorities and academic institutions. Many of these organizations have been active in the region since the early 70's.


Supported by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, the GEN secretariat, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), actively promotes increased cooperation and networking between its members. Since its establishment, the GEN Secretariat has been outreaching on the activities and synergies of the international Geneva, liaising also with local Geneva, and organizing briefings and debates with visiting specialists.


Besides Nairobi, where UNEP has its headquarters, Geneva plays a major role in international environmental governance. Global policy on issues such as chemicals, green economy, water, human rights, disasters and risks, climate change are administrated from Geneva. On these areas, important contributions to the Post-2015 Agenda are initiated in this region. In the recent years, the number of organizations and programmes working on environmental-related issues has increased. New offices have been established in Geneva and new topics are now covered (eg. eWaste).


To mark the 15th anniversary of the network, representatives from inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations gathered together for a dialogue on the world in 15 years’ time, providing visionary speeches on the state of the planet and how to best transition to a more sustainable world, and contribute to the Post-2015 agenda from Geneva.


In his welcome speech, Achim STEINER, UNEP Executive Director, said that various platforms are established in Geneva and that GEN illustrates the opportunity to work together.


H.E. Franz PERREZ, Switzerland's Ambassador for the Environment, mentioned in his opening remarks, that GEN creates an atmosphere of friends, the way we interact together. It’s one of the great things of GEN to bring us as friends in a same room. He remembered some key milestones of the past 15 years, including how GEN helped with the ratification of BRS conventions by organizing workshops in various regions.


Achim STEINER provided reference points for the future : the Post-2015 agenda and Sustainable development goals; addressing climate changes, with UNFCCC COP21 in Paris a credible next step; the transition to a green economy. He said that the issue of finance became critical. Mr Steiner insisted that we need to act collectively and accept that actions do have consequences. Values have been abandoned, what are the values that will guide us ? Not be caught up in individuality, but collectivity of values that unite us.


Christian FRIIS BACH, Executive Secretary of UNECE, was positive about our future in 2030. He described how the international agreements managed by UNECE will make our decisions durable: carbon free society, energy revolution; a well connected world; efficient non-pollutant transportation; water scarcity bringing peaceful processes; a more peaceful and democratic world. Christian sees the future of carbon based on strong agreement, hopefully concluded this year in Paris. In 2030, we will have moved closer to a zero carbon society. Previsions have been too pessimistic, the energy revolution will speed up significantly, boosted by science and UN instruments. We will live in an extremely well connected world, and our UN sister agencies will make sure that dignity an privacy is protected. We will have entirely new means of transportation, efficient and non-pollutant. Most diseases will be curable, thanks to genetics. We will have less pollution episodes. Water scarcity will led to peaceful processes, thanks also to the Water Convention. We will achieve sustainable forest management. We will live in a much more peaceful world. Geneva will be driving it with the work promoted by the Human Rights actors. The world will be much more democratic, with the contribution of the Aahrus Convention. First and foremost, extreme poverty will be eradicated, based on SDGs, that will be implemented with the help of the Geneva hub.

Inger ANDERSEN, IUCN Director-General, pointed that we have to take action, it is a question of commitment. We will be 8.5 billion people with a lot of pressure on resources that are going to sustain us. What would it take to reduce footprint ? Less crops, meat and energy consumption. A much better environment legislation, at local and global levels. We need expand agricultural productivity. Will we find smart ways of doing it ? Even without this shift, sea level will rise, million people will be affected. We need smart urban habitats, smart footprint. The Bonn challenge, pledged to increase restored land by 2020. Restoration can bring numerous opportunities. Inger insisted that we need to find vibrations outside the environmental community, inspire the young ones and work more with the private sector. They need to feel these problems. As previous speakers she spoke about equity. The world cannot be a place where the wealthy countries have the best. We need equity : each one of us has to ensure degree of equity.


Rolph PAYET, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, mentioned that networking is the new future, and that we should work collectively, making the invisible visible, to reach the unreachable. On the chemicals and waste topic, Rolph remembered that everything we do generates chemicals. The number of chemicals that are not being managed is increasing. Silent spring needs to become loud spring. We need to make it happen.


Marco LAMBERTINI, WWF International Director-General also said that we have never been so aware of current issues and that interaction is important beyond social boundaries.


Thierry APOTHELOZ, Mayor of Vernier, believes poverty and environment are linked and it is time for change.


The moderator, Prof. Laurence BOISSON DE CHAZOURNES, from the University of Geneva, invited representatives from the various organizations, members of the GEN network and Permanent Missions, to continue discussing the future we want during the reception.


More information:



 This site is best viewed in Google Chrome
Copyright © United Nations Environment Programme.
Privacy  I  Terms and Conditions