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GEO-2000 and the GEO process


'GEO-2000 is the culmination of a participatory process involving the work of experts from more than 100 countries. Our goal... is that by the turn of the century a truly global participatory assessment process may be in operation to keep under review the state of the world's environment, as well as to guide international policy setting. I am pleased to be able to report that we have achieved this goal with a few months to spare.'

- Klaus Töpfer United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme

GEO-2000, page xiii

UNEP launched the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Project in 1995. It has two components:

  • A global environmental assessment process, the GEO Process, that is cross-sectoral and participatory. It incorporates regional views and perceptions, and builds consensus on priority issues and actions through dialogue among policy-makers and scientists at regional and global levels.
  • GEO outputs, in printed and electronic formats, including the GEO Report series. This series makes periodic reviews of the state of the world's environment, and provides guidance for decision-making processes such as the formulation of environmental policies, action planning and resource allocation. Other outputs include technical reports, a Web site and a publication for young people.

A coordinated network of Collaborating Centres is the core of the GEO process. These centres have played an increasingly important role in preparing GEO reports. They are now responsible for almost all the regional inputs, thus combining top-down integrated assessment with bottom-up environmental reporting. A number of Associated Centres also participate, providing specialized expertise. Four working groups - on modelling, scenarios, policy and data - provide advice and support to the GEO process, helping coordinate the work of the Collaborating Centres to make their outputs as comparable as possible.

Other United Nations agencies contribute to the GEO Process through the United Nations System-wide Earthwatch, coordinated by UNEP. In particular, they provide substantive data and information on the many environmentally-related issues that fall under their individual mandates; they also help review drafts.

Regional consultations and other mechanisms to promote dialogue between scientists and policy-makers are an essential element of the GEO process. More than 850 people and some 35 centres contributed to the production of GEO-2000.

 GEO project organization and outputs


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