On 23 October, 2014 in Berlin, Germany, governments and stakeholders set in motion the sixth edition of the UNEP flagship Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) assessment. The upcoming GEO-6, expecting to be launched in mid-2017, will build upon regional assessment processes and create a comprehensive picture of the environmental factors contributing to human well-being, accompanied by an analysis of policies leading to greater attainment of global environmental objectives and goals. The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is a consultative process, participatory process that builds capacity for conducting integrated environmental assessments and reporting on the state, trends and outlooks of the environment. GEO is also a series of products that informs environmental decision-making and aims to facilitate the interaction between science and policy.
GEO-6 will be the start of a living process. It will provide the first integrative baseline in light of global megatrends supported by open access to data, with due consideration given to gender, indigenous knowledge and cultural dimensions. The assessment will lay the foundation for continued socio-environmental assessments across relevant scales, with a thematic as well as an integrated focus, enabling and informing societal transitions and the tracking of SDG targets and goals as well as previously agreed internationally environmental goals. The enhanced policy analysis in GEO-6 will be aimed at assisting member states to position themselves on the most effective pathways for transitions towards a sustainable future.
The rigorous assessment process aims to make GEO products scientifically credible and policy relevant - providing information to support environmental management and policy development. GEO also supports multi-stakeholder networking and intra and inter-regional cooperation to identify and assess key priority environmental issues at the regional levels. A world-wide network of Collaborating Centre partners; a transparent nomination process that allows governments and other stakeholders to nominate experts to the process; advisory groups to provide guidance on scientific and policy issues such as the HLG, SAP and AMG; and a comprehensive peer review processes are some of the integral elements of GEO.
Using the integrated environmental assessment (IEA) methodology, UNEP has produced five GEO reports thus far, and the first edition of regional assessments which have analyzed environmental state and trends at the global and regional scales, described plausible outlooks for various time frames and formulated policy options.
Each GEO report builds on the assessment findings of its predecessor and draws from lessons learnt.