It answers five consecutive questions that are key to effective decision
making. They are;
- What is happening to the environment?
- Why is it happening?
- Why is the impact?
- What can we do and what are we doing about it?
- What will happen if we donít act now?
It brings together information and insight that is usually dispersed
across disciplines and institutions. It is a tool to aid communication
between science and policy. Africa Environment Outlook aims to provide
comprehensive, credible environmental information in a way that is relevant
to policy making. The structure, which combines comprehensive environmental
information with policy analysis, within an overall context of socio-economic
conditions and development imperatives, is thus ideally suited to this
purpose. It provides recommendations for international cooperation and
action and thus can be used by subregional organizations and national
environment departments in developing national policies and international
The AEO report responds directly to Agenda 21, Chapter 40, which states:"
considerable data already exist, as the various sectoral chapters of Agenda
21 indicate, more and different types of data need to be collected, at
the local, provincial, national and international levels, indicating the
status and trends of the planetís ecosystem, natural resource, pollution
and socioeconomic variables.
The gap in the availability, quality, coherence,
standardization and accessibility of data between the developed and the
developing world has been increasing, seriously impairing the capacities
of countries to make informed decisions concerning environment and development.
"There is a general lack of capacity, particularly in developing
countries, and in many areas at the international level, for the collection
and assessment of data, for their transformation into useful information,
and their dissemination. There is also need for improved coordination
among environmental, demographic, social and developmental data and information