Note: This is the 1997 edition of UNEP's Global Environment Outlook. If you are interested in more recent information, please see the 2000 and 2002 editions.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Global Environment Outlook-1 - The Web version


Executive Summary

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Fern leave
This first issue of the biennial Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is a snapshot of an ongoing worldwide environmental assessment process. It was initiated in response to the environmental reporting requirements of Agenda 21 and to a UNEP Governing Council Decision of May 1995, which requested production of the first in a new, comprehensive State of the Environment Report series in time for the next UNEP Governing Council in January 1997. The decision recognized the need to advance consensus on several essential environmental issues and on the implementation of the recommendations of Agenda 21.

A regional and participatory process was used to produce GEO-1. Input was solicited from an extensive array of sources throughout the world: 20 regional Collaborating Centres, United Nations organizations, and independent experts. Draft chapters benefited from discussions and recommendations of participants in regional consultations organized by the UNEP Regional Offices and were extensively amended and reviewed thereafter. (See Figure 1.) Chapter 1 elaborates on this region-based participatory process, and a GEO technical report provides further details on the outcome of the regional consultations.

Figure 1. Framework of the global environment outlook process.

Figure 1. Framework of the global environment outlook process.

The regional consultations provided valuable suggestions for the improvement and future direction of the Global Environment Outlook series. In later reports, the regional inputs will be strengthened through the further development of the global network of Collaborating Centres. These centres will be called upon to draw more widely on the work of sectoral and national institutes so that the most accurate and uptodate information is included from the regional level. Analysis of environmental impacts of alternative development scenarios and policy action will be included in future GEO reports as well as more extensive analyses of current policy responses, their impacts, and the reasons for their successes and failures. The introduction of these elements in the continuous GEO assessment process has already started.

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