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Good morning, this is Michelle and today we’re covering how international Geneva’s finance actors try to breathe some life into social responsibility.

Ahead of the highly awaited UN summit that many hope will transform food systems, one of the organisations boycotting the meeting tells us why it will only satisfy big corporations’ hunger for profit.

Plus, as Geneva celebrated international peace day yesterday, we heard powerful words from Afghanistan's youngest former mayor Zarifa Ghafari on reclaiming the meaning of tradition, as the Taliban use it to justify the crackdown on women's rights.

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Michelle Langrand


On our radar

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The 1000 Swiss franc note. (Credit: Keystone/Ennio Leanza)

💰 Putting the ‘S’ back in ESG. Green sustainable finance has become an increasingly popular concept with the finance sector. But the social dimension, such as labour conditions, human rights and client protection, is often left behind. Ahead of Building Bridges Week in November, international Geneva’s finance actors put the spotlight on social responsibility.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🌽 Food summit to feed corporations. With one day to go before the UN Food Systems Summit, hundreds of organisations are still boycotting the meeting, on claims that big business is running the show. FIAN International secretary general Sofía Monsalve explains why their participation will only further worsen the hunger and environmental crises.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Image of the day

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Credit: Interpeace

Zarifa Ghafari, the youngest Afghan mayor before the Taliban came to power, was at the UN on Tuesday for the Geneva PeaceTalks. After having to flee Afghanistan and obtaining refugee status in Germany, she will seek a special permit to remain in Switzerland and will go to Bern on Thursday to plead her case before several parliamentarians.

Le Temps (FR)

Science & diplomacy reads by GESDA

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A kelp forest (Credit: NOAA/Wikicommons)

In Australia, where does the CO2 produced by wildfire go? Largely in the ocean, as it is absorbed by phytoplankton! That is the double news – bad and good – published last week in two studies by Nature. Bad because the first study showed that “the extreme bushfires that blazed across southeastern Australia in late 2019 and early 2020 released 715 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air — more than double the emissions previously estimated from satellite data”. But also good because, as the other paper suggests, “the emissions generated by the bushfire crisis were nearly offset by gigantic phytoplankton blooms in the Southern Ocean, recorded over the summer of 2019–20”.

So, can we expect the ocean to – at least partly – save us from climate change induced by CO2 concentrations increasing dramatically? That is the hope of many, from scientists to industry moguls, like Elon Musk, to politicians. But wait: another article also published last week reduces those hopes. It explains that “companies hoping to grow carbon-sucking kelp may be rushing ahead of the science”. As the technology review says, “sinking seaweed could sequester a lot of carbon, but researchers are still grappling with basic questions about reliability, scalability and risks”. “We just have zero experience with perturbing the bottom of the ocean with that amount of carbon,” notes Steven Davis, an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine. “We would all benefit by putting time and resources into building out the evidence base together, before we jump the gun and start selling carbon credits [around carbon-absorbing organism growing in the oceans],” says David Koweek, science director at Ocean Visions, a research organisation that partners with institutions like MIT, Stanford, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

A great idea is on the whiteboard. It deserves the time and common resources of scientists, but not only – also from investors, philanthropists, engineers, and why not policy-makers, decision-makers, and citizens, to make it more than a prospect shining just like the oceans can, under a generous sun.

- Olivier Dessibourg, GESDA

Companies hoping to grow carbon-sucking kelp may be rushing ahead of the science, which is still grappling with fundamental questions about the approach.

MIT Technology Review (EN)

AI 2041 – the dance between artificial intelligence and human society. A science fiction writer and the former head of Google in China paint an alarming picture of what an AI-shaped world could look like.

Financial Times (EN)

How aquatic food could serve us. Food from the world's oceans and freshwater could help reduce malnutrition around the globe.


Drugs, robots and the pursuit of pleasure. Why experts are worried about AIs becoming addicts.

The Conversation (EN)

The ‘Google of genomics’ meets the techbashers of antitrust. Has Illumina found the holy GRAIL?

The Economist (EN)

The race for fusion power heats up. Multiple projects hit new milestones.

Singularity Hub (EN)

This AI could predict a decade of scientific priorities – if we let it. A team of researchers want AI to be used in the upcoming Decadal Survey.

MIT Technology Review (EN)

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This selection is proposed by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator GESDA, working on anticipating cutting-edge science and technological advances to develop innovative and inclusive solutions for the benefit of the planet and its inhabitants.

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