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bringing you the latest news, information and analysis from
international environment and sustainable development negotiations


Upcoming Meetings

Forests, Deserts, Land


May 2020

8th Global Nitrogen Conference [Virtual]

The 8th International Nitrogen Initiative Conference (INI2020) was scheduled to convene in Berlin, Germany, from 3-7 May 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the INI Steering Committee and INI 2020 organizers decided to hold a virtual meeting on 4 May as a “curtain-raiser” to the in-person INI conference, which they announced would take place at some point in the next year. 

The triennial event brings together scientists from around the world dealing with reactive nitrogen compounds in agriculture, industry, traffic, soil, water and air.

The conference seeks to stimulate an exchange among policymakers and other relevant stakeholders of results, ideas and visions to improve future holistic management of reactive nitrogen in order to further reduce hunger and poverty while avoiding further hazards for human health, biodiversity and environment, given that most of the SDGs are closely interlinked with the nitrogen cycle. A joint conference declaration based on the latest scientific knowledge is expected to catalyze further policy action towards effective integrated nitrogen management.

INI2020 is co-organized by the International Nitrogen Initiative and hosted by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, with the support of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

date: 4 May 2020 location: Berlin, Germany (virtual) www: https://ini2020.com/

June 2020

Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity (GSOBI20) [rescheduled]

The Global Soil Biodiversity Symposium has been postponed until 1-3 June. It was originally scheduled to take place from 10-12 March 2020.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) is convening the Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity (GSOBI20) at its headquarters in Rome, Italy. 

The Symposium, jointly organized by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS), the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), will bring together international experts with the aim of reviewing the status of knowledge on soil biodiversity and ecosystem services, the sustainable use and conservation of soil biodiversity, and the contributions of soil organisms to the SDGs.

dates: 1-3 June 2020 location: Rome, Lazio, Italy www: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/resources/highlig...

15th Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 15) [Virtual]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNFF15 Bureau has decided to scale down the event to a half-day session that will take place, either in person or virtually, the first or second week of June 2020. UNFF15 was originally scheduled to take place from 4-8 May 2020 at UN Headquarters in New York, NY. 

The 15th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 15) will address, inter alia, implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF), monitoring, assessment and reporting, and means of implementation. UNFF 15 is expected to adopt the Quadrennial Programme of Work for 2021-2024.

The SDG Knowledge Hub story on UNFF 14 is available here.

date: 1 June 2020 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US (virtual) www: https://www.un.org/esa/forests/index.html

Sustainable Summits 2020 Nepal

This conference is focused on the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region. The Sustainable Summits Conferences are inspired by the growing pressures on mountain environments, the need to find solutions to the impacts of such pressures – like overcrowding, waste, noise and more – and a drive to uphold values in sustaining these environments.

The main topics to be addressed at this event include how mountains nurture communities, sustainable mountaineering, development pressures, and promoting connectivity between tourism, trade and regional cooperation.

dates: 1-5 June 2020 location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal www: http://www.fao.org/mountain-partnership/events/event-detail/...

58th Meeting of the GEF Council

The 58th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council will take place from 2-4 June 2020. The GEF Council Consultation with  Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will take place the day before the Council opens, on 1 June 2020. 

The Council is the GEF's main governing body. It comprises 32 Members appointed by constituencies of GEF member countries (14 from developed countries, 16 from developing countries and 2 from economies in transition). Council Members rotate every three years or until the constituency appoints a new Member. The Council meets twice annually to develop, adopt and evaluate the operational policies and programs for GEF-financed activities. It also reviews and approves the work program (projects submitted for approval), making decisions by consensus.

dates: 1-4 June 2020 location: Washington D.C., US www: https://www.thegef.org/council-meetings

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020 (DNC2020)

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020 (DNC2020) will convene on the theme, ‘Circular Economy in a Sustainable Society’. The conference seeks to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable economy by focusing on identifying and discussing the concepts that nexus thinking offers to support the transition towards a circular economy. By placing an emphasis on how the “Nexus Approach” to water, soil and waste in the context of a circular economy can help achieve the SDGs, DNC2020 will directly contribute to, among others, SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) and SDG 13 (climate action).

The Dresden Nexus Conference, organized by the UN University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES), the Technische Universität Dresden and the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Urban and Regional Development, is an international conference series dedicated to advancing research and the implementation of a Nexus Approach to resource management. It brings together actors from a diverse range of disciplines and sectors to foster dialogue on how nexus thinking contributes to achieving the SDGs.

Dresden Nexus Conference 2017 took place in May 2017.

dates: 3-5 June 2020 location: Dresden, Sachsen, Germany www: https://2020.dresden-nexus-conference.org/frontend/index.php

High-level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought

In accordance with General Assembly resolution A/RES/74/220, the President of the General Assembly, with the support of the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), will convene a High-level Dialogue to assess the progress made in the fight against drought, desertification and land degradation (DLDD) and map the way forward in the light of the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification, which is coming to an end in 2020.

The dialogue seeks to maintain momentum on addressing DLDD-related challenges, with a view to accelerating SDG implementation, ecosystem restoration, climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience, using land restoration as key entry point. It will also encourage stronger and more effective partnerships and commitments. 

date: 9 June 2020 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US www: https://www.un.org/pga/74/wp-content/uploads/sites/99/2020/0...

World Day to Combat Desertification 2020

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on 17 June each year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day offers a chance to recognize that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.

date: 17 June 2020 location: worldwide www: https://www.un.org/en/events/desertificationday/

September 2020

Nature Summit

In resolution A/RES/73/234, adopted on 20 December 2018, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) decided “to convene a summit on biodiversity at the level of Heads of State and Government, within existing resources,” ahead of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15) in 2020, “in order to highlight the urgency of action at the highest levels in support of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework that contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and places the global community on a path towards realizing the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity”.

Taking place on the margins of the opening of the UNGA, the Summit will seek to provide political direction and momentum to the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

date: 20 September 2020 [tentative] venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US www: https://www.cbd.int/doc/notifications/2019/ntf-2019-026-meet...
https://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/73...

December 2020

World Soil Day 2020

The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), in 2002, adopted a resolution proposing that 5 December be marked as World Soil Day to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human well-being.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Conference, in June 2013, unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the 68th UN General Assembly declared 5 December as the World Soil Day.

date: 5 December 2020 location: worldwide www: https://www.un.org/en/events/soilday/

International Mountain Day 2020

This year’s theme for International Mountain Day (IMD) is protecting mountain biodiversity. In alignment with the 'Biodiversity Super Year' and negotiation of the post-2020 biodiversity framework, the Day will celebrate mountain biodiversity and seek to increase understanding of the threats that it faces.

The UN General Assembly declared 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains, and on this occasion, it designated 11 December, from 2003 onwards, as International Mountain Day (IMD). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) coordinates the annual celebration of the Day to foster greater awareness of mountain issues. 

date: 11 December 2020 location: worldwide www: https://www.un.org/en/events/mountainday/background.shtml
http://www.fao.org/mountain-partnership/news/news-detail/en/...

January 2021

IUCN World Conservation Congress

On 3 April 2020, IUCN announced that, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 would now take place from 7-15 January 2021, still in Marseille, France. The event was originally scheduled for 11-19 June 2020.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress last convened in 2016 in Hawai'i, US, and was attended by approximately 10,000 participants from 192 countries. The SDG Knowledge Hub summary of outcomes from the 2016 Congress is here.

dates: 7-15 January 2021 location: Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Cote D'Azur, France www: https://www.iucncongress2020.org/