The sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) Regional Assessment for North America paints a comprehensive picture of the environmental factors contributing to human health and well-being at the regional level. Backed by a large body of recent, credible scientific evidence, regional-wide consultations and a robust intergovernmental process, the assessment demonstrates that regional and global multilateral environmental agreements have improved environmental conditions in North America.
The outlook for North America is unfolding in a context of improved environmental conditions. The region has a low environmental burden of disease, rich biodiversity levels and large expanses of natural beauty. Improvements in the last decades have been credited to policies that have sparked technological and behavioural change. Some challenges from interactions across complex systems involving multiple pressures, however, pose risks to human well-being and ecosystems.
North American responses to environmental challenges reflect the diversity, energy and ingenuity of the region. Successes have been achieved largely by focusing on individual sectors and applying a small number of policy instruments. Remaining and emerging new environmental challenges will require further application of proven policy options along with continued innovation.