For informed decision-making in environmental governance processes, scientific findings on the status of the environment should be regularly brought to policy forums where environmental agenda is set. One of UNEP’s main functions since its inception at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 is to keep under review the world environmental situation, as mandated by UN General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII). By carrying out this function, UNEP is to ensure that emerging environmental problems of wide international significance receive appropriate and adequate considerations by Governments.
Human-induced environmental change has accelerated over the last three decades, as is clearly illustrated in UNEP’s flagship Global Environment Outlook (GEO) series of reports and other assessments such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). The increasing complexity of environmental degradation now requires an enhanced capacity for scientific assessment, monitoring and early warning. For this reason UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) has initiated a consultative process to identify gaps and needs in the current assessment structure, and the means to address them (http://www.unep.org/scienceinitiative/).
Key scientific resources in relation to environmental governance include: