Geneva Goes Globally Green
According to Simon Bradley’s article for Swiss Info, Geneva continues to augment its status as a global environmental powerhouse. Most recently, the international environmental nonprofit Region of Climate Action (R20) decided to build its headquarters in the Geneva suburb of Versoix. Founded in 2011 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, R20 is a coalition of national, sub national, and regional partners in different regions in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North, and South America. R20 is made up of 560 members: governments, nongovernmental organizations, financial, and academic institutions from all over the world who focus on reduction of energy consumption and green gas emission, creation of more “green” jobs, and building local economies.
Bradley explains that the Swiss government works diligently so that Geneva will become the next leader in the environmental issues. Namely, there are over 250 nongovernmental and 32 international organizations in the city, and most are experts in environmental and health-related issues. Green Climate Fund (GCF), the financial mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), could also set up its permanent secretariat in Geneva. The city is suited to become the next home of GCF’s secretariat because of its mix of environmental and financial experts. In addition, as explained for Swiss Info by Dr. Franz Perrez, current head of International Affairs at the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Geneva “also has a strong network of diplomatic missions, which is important if we want the GCF to grow and for countries to be able to follow up its activities.” Indeed, GCF is expected to invest $100 billion of aid in developing countries by the year 2020 for the purpose of capacity building in climate change mitigation.
As Geneva is developing into a global environmental center, it is in competition with five other countries for the GCF’s permanent relocation. Perrez warns against the final decision being too politically oriented because this will only end up dividing what should be a united front on the environmental issues. While pointing out that Nairobi continues to be the main global environmental center, Perezz added that Nairobi cannot handle all of the environmental issues on its own, and that another global center in Geneva would be a good complementary resource.
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Dr. Franz Perrez co-organized the Berne workshop on International Environmental Governance: Grounding Policy Reform in Rigorous Analysis in 2011 and attended the Forum in Glion in 2009.