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Good morning, this is Paula. Between talks in Kyiv on trying to get the Black Sea grain deal restarted and flying off to the opening of Cop28 in Dubai, UN trade and development chief Rebeca Grynspan talks to us about climate finance, debt relief, food security and how she’s stepped up the profile of her office’s role.

This week, discussions on a pandemic treaty will resume within the World Health Organization as the deadline for the final draft approaches, while talks over strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention will be the focus elsewhere on Geneva’s right bank.

photo journaliste

Paula Dupraz-Dobias


On our radar

Photo article

Rebeca Grynspan, secretary general of Unctad, in her office at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, 27 November 2023. (Geneva Solutions/Paula Dupraz-Dobias)

Rebeca Grynspan on turning Unctad from technical agency to climate beacon. Back from Kyiv, where efforts continue to bring Russia and Ukraine back to the table on the grain deal and before heading to the Cop28 climate conference, Rebeca Grynspan, the secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, talks to Geneva Solutions about how Unctad can drive dialogue on issues ranging from climate change to debt, hunger and development. Her schedule will put her back in Geneva in time for eWeek, where governments, businesses and civil society will discuss the digital divide.

Geneva Solutions

What else to watch this week

💉Pandemic talks. Delegates will reconvene this week as they haggle for a global agreement to tackle future global health crises. With only five months to go before the desired deadline, they’ll have to push hard to overcome some significant points of contention that have underpinned negotiations since the start.

Read our reporting to get an idea of some of these

🦠Bioweapons. Also slated for this week is a third round of discussions on how to strengthen the international treaty that outlaws developing or using weapons made of biological toxins or pathogens.

Beef up. The group was set up following an agreement at a key meeting last year to come up with proposals, including legally binding ones, on how to reinvigorate the convention, which lacks a compliance mechanism.

Unfounded claims. But the meeting may get confrontational, as Russia seems adamant in bringing up again claims that the United States is testing pathogens for military purposes in Ukraine, which the UN has previously dismissed.

🏚️Genocide convention day. Today, the Human Rights Council will hold discussions all day to mark the 75th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as per tradition. The focus will be on the role of social media in spreading hate speech and incitement to genocide and how to avert that.

Elephant in the room. While not an official item on the agenda, the war in Gaza and Israel as the fighting in the strip resumes will loom large over the meeting. Palestine and its allies have accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian people, though the UN human rights office has said that is an assessment only a court of law can make.

Nevertheless, substantiating some of those fears, thirty-five UN-backed independent experts have said Israel’s violations against Gazans since the Hamas attack on 7 October “point to a genocide in the making”.

Also on the agenda

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