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The GEO-5 assessment process


With its core mandate of ‘keeping the global environment under review’, UNEP coordinates integrated environmental assessments, which involve extensive consultations and participatory processes. Four Global Environment Outlook (GEO) assessment reports have been produced, in 1997, 1999, 2002, and 2007.


The 25th session of UNEP’s Governing Council in Decision 25/2: III requested the Executive Director, through the Programme of Work, to continue to conduct a comprehensive, integrated and scientifically credible global environmental assessment (GEO-5), avoiding duplication and building on on-going assessment work, to support decision-making processes at all levels, in the light of the continuing need for up-to-date, scientifically credible, policy-relevant information on environmental change worldwide, and including the analyses of cross-cutting issues and indicator-based components. It was further approved by UNGA’s 2nd Committee (Economic and Financial) resolution (A/C.2/66/L.57).


As a significant contribution to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the fifth Global Environment Outlook builds on previous reports and continues to provide an analysis of the state, trends and outlook of the global environment. It differs from previous GEO reports in its emphasis on internationally agreed goals and a shift from assessing ‘problems’ to providing possible ‘solutions’.


The GEO-5 assessment report has three distinct, yet related parts:


Part 1 is an assessment of the state and trends of the global environment in relation to key internationally agreed goals such as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed in 2000 and goals of various multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) based on national, regional and global analyses and datasets. It provides an evaluation of the gaps in achieving internationally agreed goals and their indicative implications for human well-being.

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