United Nations System-Wide
  Earthwatch Working Party 5
Geneva, 3-4 May 1999
26 April 1999


The UN system-wide Earthwatch is the primary mechanism for soliciting inputs from the UN system agencies and organizations to the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) report series, which is UNEP's major forward-looking state of the environment report. The second Global Environment Outlook 2000 (GEO-2000) Report, will be launched in September 1999. Two other products of the GEO process are also being completed. The Global Environment Outlooks for Small Island Developing States (GEO-SIDS) will be launched at the UN General Assembly Special Session in September 1999, and the GEO for the Youth Report will be presented at the Millennium Youth Congress in Hawaii in October 1999.

Participation by the UN system in the GEO process has been discussed at each Earthwatch Working Party since the series was initiated, and contributions and reviews have been solicited from the partners in Earthwatch. The proposed draft outline of the second GEO report was circulated to Earthwatch focal points in May 1997, and the guidelines for the production of the report were sent out in August 1997. Other relevant reports on the GEO process have also been distributed. As part of a study of emerging environmental issues undertaken by the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) for UNEP, a questionnaire for the UNEP-SCOPE Expert Consultation on Emerging Environmental Issues was also sent to all Earthwatch focal points in August 1997.

For the GEO-2000 report, a first working draft of some 450 pages was distributed electronically on 20 March and in hard copy on 27 March 1998 to nearly 50 Earthwatch focal points and other agency-nominated experts for review. A variety of useful comments were received and used by the editorial staff in a major reworking of the draft.

For organizations that have so requested, an effort has been made to involve them in the regional consultative processes that develop region-specific inputs to the GEO reports.

Earthwatch Coordination also facilitated a review of the draft Oceans section by the GESAMP Working Group on Marine Environmental Assessments, and made direct inputs to the chapters on global perspectives and on emerging environmental issues.

UN focal points for Earthwatch were informed in July 1998 of the project to develop GEO reports for the Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and South Pacific, and encouraged to cooperate directly with the collaborating organizations preparing these sub-regional reports.

The contribution of various parts of the UN system to the GEO process has been greatly appreciated. These contributions are being acknowledged in the report. We hope that even greater participation will be possible in the GEO-3 report "30 years after Stockholm" to be prepared for 2002.

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UN System-wide Earthwatch Coordination, Geneva