Sustainable Development, Environment, Climate Change, Conservation of Natural Resources
Geneva is home to a number of international organizations in the field of environment and sustainable development such as UNCTAD, WMO and IPCC. However most UN agencies specialized in this field are located in other cities such as New York (UNDP), Vienna (UNIDO), Nairobi (UNEP) or Bonn (UNFCCC).
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), established in 1964, is the principal organ of the UN General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. As a global think tank, UNCTAD provides expertise through reports and studies and offers technical cooperation to developing countries. Austria has been supporting UNCTAD’s activities in the past years through financing a number of projects including the funding of participation of Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) representatives and technical assistance for market development for East African organic agriculture.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is the UN specialized agency for scientific cooperation among member states in the field of weather and climate, hydrology and geophysical sciences. It currently aims at implementing a Global Framework for Climate Services which will streamline climate prediction and information on an international level. Moreover WMO hosts the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which, as a scientific intergovernmental body, is tasked with reviewing and assessing research relevant to climate change issues. The Secretariat is headed by Dr Renate Christ (Austria). Austria participates in WMO’s work mainly through its national meteorological and geophysical service, the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), a subordinate agency of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research whose director (currently Dr Michael Staudinger) serves as Permanent Representative of Austria to WMO. Other Austrian institutions actively involved in work in this field include the Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and the Environment Agency Austria, its subsidiary.
Geneva is host to further organizations in the field of the environment such as programmes and secretariats under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), for example the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), the Rotterdam Convention on Trade in Hazardous Chemicals (PIC) or the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The permanent Executive Office of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Executive Office of the World Association of Zoos and Auqariums (WAZA) are all located at the IUCN Conservation Centre building in Gland on Lake Geneva, “Europe’s greenest office building”. Gland is also host to the Secretariat of WWF International – the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Austria is an active participant in all these organizations and is represented in meetings by experts from the relevant national authorities or organizations.