The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has published the pre-edited version of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the first comprehensive assessment of the global environment to be published in almost seven years, the “Sixth global environmental picture “(GEO-6). ). The MPS and the underlying report will be presented at the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4).
The GEO-6 theme, entitled ‘Healthy planet, healthy people‘, aims to provide a solid and evidence-based source of environmental information to help policymakers and society, in general, achieve the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the environmental objectives agreed internationally. implement multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). It does so by evaluating recent scientific information and data, analyzing current and past environmental policies and identifying future options for achieving sustainable development by 2050.
In particular, GEO-6 highlights the main global drivers of environmental change, the condition of the environment, the scale and effectiveness of policy responses, the potential ways to achieve the SDGs in an increasingly complex world, and the needs and data and information opportunities. that can support decision-making towards the achievement of the SDGs.
The GDS recognizes population pressure and economic development as the main drivers of environmental change, with rapid urbanization and the acceleration of technological innovation as additional influences. It also recognizes wide disparities throughout the world in the patterns of consumption and production behind these drivers.
GEO-6 concludes that unsustainable human activities worldwide have degraded the Earth’s ecosystems, endangering the ecological foundations of society. Urgent action is needed on an unprecedented scale to halt and reverse this situation, thus protecting human and environmental health and maintaining the current and future integrity of global ecosystems.
The report details the state of the global environment with respect to: air pollution and climate change; loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity; oceanic pollution, warming and acidification, and its greater use for the production of food, the extraction of resources and the production of energy, among other purposes; land degradation and desertification; and the shortage of fresh water and pollution.
Several problems have been identified that affect all environmental issues. Some, such as human health, gender, urbanization and education, relate to people and means of subsistence. Others, such as climate change, polar regions, mountains and environmental disasters, are concerned about changing environments. Others, such as the use of resources, the elimination of solid waste, energy, chemicals and the food system, reflect the use of resources and materials.
Recognizing that most countries have introduced environmental policies and established a relevant governance structure and that there are now hundreds of AMAs, Part B of GEO-6 addresses the question: “How effective have these policy innovations and approaches been? of government to address the problems and achieve the agreed objectives? “The analysis combines an evaluation of case studies on policies implemented with an indicator-based approach that covers a variety of policy approaches from various levels in the thematic areas of the report, which include the following:
Provision of information: for example, access to data on air quality or coral reefs;
Voluntary agreements: for example, voluntary reports on the use of water, voluntary guidelines for sustainable land management or the establishment of standards for best management practices and sustainability reports;
Economic incentives and market-based instruments: for example, free water allocations, individual transferable quotas for fishers or payments for ecosystem services;
Planning for the environment: for example, adaptive water management and urban biodiversity management;
Promotion of innovation: for example, innovation for sustainable agriculture or financing for clean kitchens;
Regulatory approaches: for example, standards for automobile exhaust emissions or regulation of wildlife trade through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Source: SDG Knowledge Hub.