United Nations Environment Programme

environment for development

Major environmental assessments
1. Global Environmental Outlook (GEO) - (1995-present) - GEO is a participatory and regionally distributed assessment process with a strong capacity building component. GEO has resulted in 3 global integrated environmental assessment reports (GEO-3 in 2002, GEO-2000 in 1999 and GEO-1 in 1997), numerous regional, sub-regional, national and sub-national level reports and products, a range of youth, educational and capacity building products, as well as assessment tools, methodologies, and information systems such as the GEO Data Portal. GEO-4 is now under preparation and will be published in 2007. See: http://www.unep.org/geo.

2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - (1988 - present) - IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It is open to all Members of the UN and of WMO. IPCC has published three assessments of climate change (1990, 1995 and 2001) as well as numerous related scientific and technical publications, and has started planning the fourth assessment report (AS4). See: http://www.ipcc.ch.

3. Ozone Assessments - (1988 - present) - Scientific, environmental, technical and economic assessments related to ozone depletion are required under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. In 1988 four Assessment Panels were created to carry out the assessment process, later reduced to three with the merger of 2 panels to form the Panel for Technology and Economic Assessment. 5 major assessments have been carried out so far (1989, 1991, 1994, 1998 and 2002). See: http://www.unep.org/ozone

4. Global Environmental Monitoring System / Water Programme (GEMS/Water) (1978 - present) - The GEMS/Water Programme provides authoritative, scientifically-sound information on the state and trends of global inland water quality required as a basis for the sustainable management of the world's freshwater to support global environmental assessments and decision-making processes. See http://www.gemswater.org/.

5. Biodiversity assessments and related activities - UNEP has been involved in many biodiversity assessment related activities including producing the Global Biodiversity Assessment (1995), and the Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity (1999). The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre provides information for policy and action to conserve the living world. Its programmes concentrate on species, forests, protected areas, marine, mountains and freshwaters; plus habitats affected by climate change such as polar regions, and the wider aspects of biodiversity assessment. See: http://www.unep-wcmc.org.

6. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) - (2001-2005) - UNEP is the implementing agency for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which is designed to meet the needs of decision-makers for scientific information on the links between environmental change and human well being. See: http://www.ma-secretariat.org

7. Post-conflict assessments - (1999 to present) - UNEP's Post Conflict Assessment Unit works to determine how conflict influences the environment and to identify the environmental consequences of modern warfare in areas of the world where the natural and human environment has been damaged as a consequence of conflict. Assessments have been undertaken for Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and an assessment of environmental conditions in Iraq is currently under way. See: http://postconflict.unep.ch/

8. Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) - (1999 - 2003) - The aim of GIWA is to produce a comprehensive and integrated global assessment of international waters, the ecological status of and the causes of environmental problems in 66 water areas in the world, and focus on the key issues and problems facing the aquatic environment in transboundary waters. See: http://www.giwa.net

9. Global Mercury Assessment - (2001-present) - UNEP carried out a global assessment of mercury and mercury compounds, and published the Global Mercury Assessment report in December 2002. The 22nd session of the UNEP Governing Council concluded that there is sufficient evidence from the assessment to warrant immediate action to protect human health and the environment from releases of mercury and its compounds. UNEP is now inviting submission of governments' views on medium- and long-term actions on mercury, which will be synthesized into a report for presentation at the 23rd session of the UNEP Governing Council, with a view to developing "a legally binding instrument, a non-legally binding instrument, or other measures or actions." See http://www.chem.unep.ch/mercury.

10. Global Marine Assessment (GMA) - (2001-present) GMA is an upcoming activity for the assessment of the state of coastal and marine environments building on existing regional assessments. The UN General Assembly in its resolution 57/141 decided to establish by 2004 a regular process for the global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment. The resolution was inter alia based on a feasibility study of the GMA initiated by UNEP Governing Council in 2001. The UN Secretary General is now in the process of preparing proposals on the modalities of the GMA. UNEP will, in follow up of decision GC22/1/II, contribute to the preparatory process based on its ongoing assessment activities, and programmatic and available financial resources. See: http://www.unep.org/DEWA/water/MarineAssessment.

11. The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) - (2004 - present). IAASTD is a unique international effort that will evaluate the relevance, quality and effectiveness of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology (AKST); and effectiveness of public and private sector policies as well as institutional arrangements in relation to AKST. The IAASTD is a three-year collaborative effort (2005 - 2007) that will assess AKST in relation to meeting development and sustainability goals of: - Reducing hunger and poverty - Improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods - Facilitating social and environmental sustainability The project is a major global initiative, developed out of a consultative process involving 900 participants and 110 countries from all regions of the world. See: www.agassessment.org
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