Green Geneva: Visiting the Environmental Institutions of the UN

Post-exam time was all about global environmental politics. For two days, a group of 25 students participated in the first-ever UCF study visit to the environmental institutions of United Nations: the World Meteorological Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Needeless to say, we all know these instituations are the leading global environmental authorities: they set the global environmental agenda, promote the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the UN system, and serve as an advocate for the environment from the local to the global.

We learned from experts in the field about the opportunities and challenges they face with global environmental governance as they fight starvation, promote green technologies, manage disaster risks, collect geospatial data, and combat climate change. These were truly inspiring encounters and left many of us with a better understanding of the function of an environmental administration at the global scale.

The trip also offered unique insights into the personal and professional life of an environmental professional at the United Nations and in international organizations more broadly. The speakers babbled out of the box and shared with us their insider information on internship applications. However, they also did not shy away from disclosing what they did not like about their jobs and invited us to reflect thoroughly on our own career objectives.

We also embarked on two additional side-activities. The first was the Musée international de la Croix-Rouge which featured a permanent exhibition about the work of the red cross. We learned how humanitarian aid often is a matter of environmental disasters management and that international cooperation can do wonders to re-connect families to their loved and lost ones after wartime disruptions. We also visited the Botanical Garden in Geneva.

We thank everyone who participated as the trip was a full success and a worthy inauguration of UCF’s new ties to the Environmental institutions of the United Nations. We will arange for another excursion next year and are already looking forward to more exciting encounters!

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