The Intergovernmental Meeting on the Fifth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) took place in Gwangju City, Republic of Korea, from Sunday, 29 to Tuesday, 31 January 2012. Participants from 62 countries, 14 experts and two observers took part in the meeting to finalize the draft text of the SPM.
The GEO is a series of reports that informs environmental decision-making and endeavors to facilitate interaction between science and policy through the provision of information to support environmental management and policy development.
GEO-5 aims to, inter alia, provide a scientific analysis of selected environmental challenges and the solutions available to address them, including their economic, environmental and social costs and benefits. It is also intended to have a strong regional emphasis.
Over the course of the three days, delegates negotiated the draft text of the SPM, which comprised of six sections: critical thresholds; evidence-based policy making requires more, reliable data; environmental deterioration demonstrates internationally agreed goals have only been partially achieved; shifting the policy focus; scaling up promising policies, practices from the regions; and innovative responses – an opportunity for cooperation. Under these sections, the topics debated ranged from the effect continued environmental deterioration has had for achieving internationally agreed goals such as the Millennium Development Goals, biodiversity targets and others, regional policy assessments, and steps that need to be taken to ensure success in the future. Lively debate on these issues resulted in late night sessions, but ultimately the three days of hard work endorsed the draft SPM, which will be forwarded to the twelfth Special Session of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Governing Council (GC) for consideration and adoption. More information...