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International Geneva wants to curb its carbon footprint

The UN office in Geneva are among the sponsors of the 2050 Today initiative (Credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre)

International Geneva was called upon on Tuesday to lead by example and reduce its carbon footprint. 

The Swiss Permanent Mission to the UN launched 2050Today, an initiative seeking to measure and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the more than 600 state permanent missions, international organisations and NGOs that the canton hosts.    

“Geneva, as the European headquarters of the United Nations, the world headquarters of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), and the main centre for implementing sustainable development objectives, can be a symbol of concrete, measurable and visible action to reduce emissions,” said the Swiss ambassador to the UN, Jürg Lauber, during a hybrid event that gathered representatives both online and offline at the Geneva International Conference Centre.

Institutions and organisations wishing to participate will be given a form by the Swiss Permanent Mission, in which they can collect their carbon footprint in five key areas: mobility, food, energy consumption, recycling and equipment, explained Jean-Pierre Raymond, global coordinator for 2050Today. Participants have been asked to turn in their results before the end of the year, he said, so that they can propose solutions at the beginning of 2021.

Changing the world one diplomat at a time. Several permanent missions, including Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Irak and Kenya, expressed their support for the initiative. 

Sabri Bachtobji, permanent representative of Tunisia to the UN, said: “We remain civil servants. It would be good to see this effort flourish throughout the public service.” 

Representatives also shared some of the steps their permanent missions had already taken to lower their carbon footprint. Eliminating plastic bottles, encouraging employees to eat greener, even using wooden pens were among the steps mentioned.

Denmark, Fiji, France, Morocco, Mexico, Rwanda and Slovenia, as well as the United Nations Office at Geneva and the European office of the United Nations Environment Programme are also sponsoring the initiative.