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GEO Year Book 2003  
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Global

Extreme weather events
Biosafety and trade
International environmental agenda
Looking to the future

While armed conflict, anti-war demonstrations and the bombing of the United Nations building in Iraq provided some of the lasting images of 2003, a number of environmental milestones also made their mark. At the global level, climate change, international environmental governance and the debate on genetically modified organisms continued to dominate much of the environmental discourse

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety came into force on 11 September – exactly a year after the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) adopted the Plan of Implementation. This was a toast to the success of international cooperation in a world too often badly affected by discord. Multilateral negotiations and meetings in 2003 strengthened the framework for international environmental governance at global and regional levels.

There were achievements, but there were also challenges, many of which were similar across different regions of the world. Some of the common issues at the regional level included; extreme weather events, including drought and floods; water resources management; protected area and biodiversity management; and environmental impacts of armed conflict. The environmental issues and challenges highlighted in the following global and regional sections are only a significant representative sample of many faced in 2003 at different spatial levels. They are not mutually exclusive, but key strands in the complex web of life. Setbacks and controversy joined progress as regular items on the agenda of international cooperation.


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