1. On the second day of her trip to Switzerland, Minister Serret met with UN agencies and international environmental organisations

The Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, accompanied by the Government Delegate to Switzerland, Gabriel Boichat, visited the Palais des Nations in Geneva today, on the second day of her trip to Switzerland, to meet with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and international environmental organisations.

Minister Serret wished to emphasise the commitment of the Government of Catalonia to the treaty against plastic pollution, which is currently under negotiation.

Minister Serret and delegate Boichat met with the director of the Global Cities Hub, Kamelia Kemileva and the coordinator of the Geneva Environment Network, Dianna Rizzolio. "We have strengthened the role of Catalonia and of those governments closest to their citizens in the negotiations for the treaty against plastic pollution, with a focus on Ottawa,” explained Serret, referring to the upcoming negotiating meeting scheduled for April 2024 in Canada’s capital.

Catalonia will further promote the voice of regional governments in the next round of treaty negotiations. Governments such as Catalonia's can contribute to the success of the treaty by sharing local knowledge, implementing specific and strict regulations, promoting circular economy initiatives and raising awareness in local communities. Their involvement ensures a more comprehensive and effective global approach to tackling plastic pollution, including marine litter.

Geneva, as a global centre for environmental governance, is home to many organisations working to develop a new instrument on plastic pollution. The city plays an important role in the multilateral processes to tackle plastic pollution and many actors are actively working to address the plastic crisis on a global and local scale.

The global plastic pollution treaty was born of the need to negotiate a legally binding international instrument to regulate the entire plastics cycle and its accumulation in the environment. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme, the treaty is scheduled for 2024, and is expected to be the most ambitious on plastics ever.

Meeting with the OCHA

Minister Serret also met with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The Government of Catalonia announced the increase of its contribution to the OCHA until 2024. The annual contribution of €500,000 to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will be renewed, while an additional contribution of €200,000 will be made to OCHA's Country-based Pooled Funds for Palestine.

Yesterday, Serret also met with the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Doreen Bogdan-Martin, and the co-director of the Giga project on behalf of the ITU, Alex Wong. The Giga project is an initiative of the United Nations, specifically the agencies UNICEF and ITU, to connect all the world's schools to the internet by 2030. Its main headquarters are in Geneva, but soon it will also have an office in Barcelona, at the urban innovation centre of Ca l'Alier, in Poblenou. This is a further instance of the Government of Catalonia collaborating closely with the UN and its agencies and enabling the Catalan digital ecosystem to contribute to tackling a global challenge such as ending the digital divide in schools around the world.