The GEO Project

The GEO process
GEO report series

The UNEP Global Environment Outlook (GEO) project was initiated in response to the environmental reporting requirements of Agenda 21 and to a UNEP Governing Council decision of May 1995 which requested the production of a comprehensive global state of the environment report. The GEO project has two components:

  • A global environmental assessment process that is cross-sectoral, participatory and consultative. It incorporates regional views and builds consensus on priority issues and actions through dialogue among policy makers and scientists at regional and global levels. It also aims to strengthen environmental assessment capacity in the regions through training and ‘learning-by-doing’.
  • GEO outputs, in printed and electronic formats, including the GEO report series. This series presents periodic reviews of the state of the world’s environment, and provides guidance for decision-making processes such as the formulation of environmental policies, action planning and resource allocation. Other outputs include regional, sub-regional and national environmental assessments, technical and other background reports, a Web site, products for young people (GEO for Youth) and a core database — the GEO Data Portal.

The GEO Data Portal provides report producers with easy access — via the Internet — to a common and consistent set of datasets from primary sources (UN and others), while covering a broad range of environmental and socio-economic themes. The Portal addresses one of the major concerns expressed ever since the start of the GEO project — the need for reliable, harmonized data for global and regional level environmental assessment and reporting. As of March 2002, the Portal gives access to some 300 statistical and geographical datasets at national, sub-regional, regional and global levels. State-of-the-art functionality for on-line data visualization and exploration are available for creating graphs, tables and maps.

Internet references in GEO-3
GEO-3 has developed a special system for preserving the Internet references quoted in the bibliographies on the pages that follow. Each such reference is followed by a GEO-3 tag of the form [Geo-x-yyy]. This electronic reference scheme — a unique feature of GEO-3 — can be used both on the GEO-3 website at and on the CD-ROM available with the English version of this report. Search can be by author, title of document or GEO-3 tag. Clicking on the tag brings up the full reference and text, even though the original Web page may have since disappeared from the Internet.