Global Environment Outlook 1: For Life on Earth

26 September 1997

GEO-1 is the first product of the GEO Project. It is a snap-shot of an ongoing worldwide environmental assessment process. It incorporates regional views and perceptions and aims at building consensus on priority issues and actions. Input was solicited from 20 collaborating centres, from United Nations organizations and through regional policy consultations.

GEO-1 describes the environmental status and trends in seven regions; it summarizes developments over time in regional policy responses; the report concludes with an exploration, based on model analysis, of what we might expect in the future for a selected number of environmental issues if no major policy reforms are initiated.

GEO-1 shows that significant progress has been made in the last decade in confronting environmental challenges both in developing and industrial regions, but that, nevertheless, the global environment has continued to degrade. Poverty, burgeoning population growth, the inefficient use of resources, high levels of consumption, waste generation, and industrial pollution are some of the key factors leading to this continuous degradation. Progress towards a sustainable future is simply too slow. The report argues that effective policy setting for sustainable development requires a blend of policy instruments that addresses the social fabric of life, ensures effective institutional arrangements, improves the economy and protects the environment.

GEO-1 report shows that? It -

  • has set in motion a globally distributed process to continuously keep under review the state of the global environment.
  • is regionally differentiated.
  • presents for the first time, and from a regional perspective, environmental policy responses.
  • contains an initial analysis of possible future developments.
  • involved scientists and policy makers in its production.