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United Nations System-Wide

Edition of 14 August 2001

Global Environmental Headlines
NEW CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENT update to 22 January 2001 
ECOSYSTEMS IN DANGER  update 20 October 2000 
RESPONSE TO CORAL REEF DECLINE updated 14 August 2001 
MAJOR FOREST FIRES update to 14 August 2001
Earthwatch Activities
UNEP.NET LAUNCHED 9 February 2001
INFORMATION AT CSD-9 updated 16 May 2001
EARTHWATCH WORKING PARTY  updated 14 August 2001
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK 2000 updated 8 May 2000
Regular Features


updated 22 January 2001

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued its latest scientific assessment on 22 January 2001. The IPCC’s Third Assessment Report was written and reviewed by hundreds of climate change experts on the basis of the most up-
to-date, peer-reviewed research available. The first volume  “Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis” includes the following key findings:

There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.  Since the IPCC’s 1995 Report confidence in the ability of models to project future climate has increased. For example, there is now a longer and more closely scrutinized temperature record. 
Reconstructions of climate data for the past 1,000 years, as well as model estimates of natural climate variations, suggest that the observed warming over the past 100 years was unusual and is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin. In addition, detection and attribution studies consistently find evidence for an anthropogenic signal in the climate record of the last 35-50 years. However, there are still many remaining gaps in information and understanding about climate change.

An increasing body of observation gives a collective picture of a warming world. 

Globally it is very likely that the 1990s were the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in the instrumental record, since 1861. New analyses of data from tree rings, corals, ice cores and historical records for the Northern Hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1000 years, and it is likely that the 1990s were the warmest decade and 1998 was the warmest year. 

In the mid- and high-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, it is very likely that snow cover has decreased by about 10% since the late 1960s, and the annual duration of lake- and river-ice cover has shortened by about two weeks over the 20th century. It is likely that there has been about a 40% decline in Arctic sea-ice thickness during late summer to early autumn in recent decades.

Since 1750, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by 31% from 280 parts per million to about 367 ppm today. The present CO2 concentration has not been exceeded during the past 420,000 years and likely not during the past 20 million years. 

The globally averaged surface temperature is projected to increase by 1.4 ­ 5.8°C from 1990 to 2100. This is higher than the 1995 Second Assessment Report’s projection of 1 - 3.5°C, largely because future sulphur dioxide emissions (which help to cool the Earth) are now expected to be lower. This future warming is on top of a 0.6°C increase since 1861. 

Global average water vapour concentration and precipitation are projected to increase. More intense precipitation events are likely over many northern hemisphere’s mid- to high-latitude land areas. The observed intensities and frequencies of tropical and extra-tropical cyclones and severe local storms, however, currently show no clear long-term trends, although data are often sparse and inadequate.

Sea-levels are projected to rise by 0.09 to 0.88 metres from 1990 to 2100. Despite higher temperature projections these sea level projections are slightly lower than the range projected in the Second Assessment Report (0.13 to 0.94 metres), primarily due to the use of improved models, which give a smaller contribution from glaciers and ice sheets. 

The Third IPCC Report includes Volume II on impacts (finalized February) and  Volume III on response strategies (early March), together with a summary overview.

For further information, see the Assessments page of this site or the IPCC web site.

For further information on the climate situation over the last few years, see the Climate change section of the Emerging Environmental Issues page.

1 December 2000

Satellite measurements in September 2000 revealed that the stratospheric ozone “hole” over the Antarctic had a reached a record 28.3 million square kilometres (some one million sq. km more than the previous record, in 1998). Earlier in the year, ozone depletion over northern latitudes also reached record levels, leading to predictions of a second ozone hole over the Arctic; such an event would expose many millions of people to dangerous doses of ultraviolet-B radiation.

The danger is that ozone-destroying chemicals are long-lasting and take time to travel up to the stratosphere. Chemicals released years ago are still present in the atmosphere and are contributing to today’s peak concentrations.

Meanwhile, global climate change is thought to be slowing the ozone layer's healing process. The warming of the atmosphere near the ground causes the stratosphere to become even colder. Cold stratospheric temperatures, particularly during the early Antarctic spring, catalyze the chemical processes that destroy ozone molecules.

(Source: UNEP News Release 00/134, 1 December 2000).

20 October 2000

A new report reveals a widespread decline in the condition of the world's ecosystems due to increasing resource demands. It warns that if the decline continues it could have devastating implications for human development and the welfare of all species.  "Many signs point to the declining capacity of ecosystems," says World Resources 2000-2001: People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life. The report, released in September, is published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank and the World Resources Institute (WRI). Over 175 scientists contributed to the report, which took more than two years to produce.

Ecosystems are communities of interacting organisms and the physical environment in which they live; they are the biological engines of the planet.  At the heart of the report is the first-of-its-kind Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems (PAGE). The report examines coastal, forest, grassland, freshwater and agricultural ecosystems. It analyzes their health on the basis of their ability to produce the goods and services that the world currently relies on. These include production of food, provision of pure and sufficient water, storage of atmospheric carbon, maintenance of biodiversity and provision of recreation and tourism opportunities.

The scorecards that accompany the World Resources 2000-2001 describe most of the ecosystems in fair, but declining conditions. The statistics it contains are staggering:

* Half of the world's wetlands were lost last century.

* Logging and conversion have shrunk the world's forests by as much as half.

* Some 9 percent of the world's tree species are at risk of extinction; tropical deforestation may exceed 130,000 square kilometers per year.

* Fishing fleets are 40 percent larger than the ocean can sustain.

* Nearly 70 percent of the world's major marine fish stocks are overfished or are being fished at their biological limit.

* Soil degradation has affected two-thirds of the world's agricultural lands in the last 50 years.

* Some 30 percent of the world's original forests have been converted to agriculture.

* Since 1980, the global economy has tripled in size and population has grown by 30 percent to 6 billion people.

* Dams, diversions or canals fragment almost 60 percent of the world's largest rivers.

* Twenty percent of the world's freshwater fish are extinct, threatened or endangered.

However, World Resources 2000-2001 warns that halting the decline of the planet's life-support systems may be the most difficult challenge humanity has ever faced.

"Our knowledge of ecosystems has increased dramatically, but it has simply not kept pace with our ability to alter them," said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director. "We can continue blindly altering Earth's ecosystems, or we can learn to use them more sustainably."

World Resources 2000-2001 recommends that governments and people must view the sustainability of ecosystems as essential to human life. It calls for an ecosystems approach to managing the world's critical resources, which means evaluating decisions on land and resource use in light of how they affect the capacity of ecosystems to produce goods and services.

According to World Resources 2000-2001, one of the most important conclusions of PAGE is that there is a lack of much of the baseline knowledge that is needed to properly determine ecosystems conditions on a global, regional or even local scale.

"The dimensions of this information gap are large and growing, rather than shrinking as we would expect in this age of satellite imaging and the Internet," said Jonathan Lash, WRI president. "If we are to make sound ecosystem management decisions in the 21st century, dramatic changes are needed in the way we use the knowledge and experience at hand and the range of additional information we need."

The PAGE report has provided the impetus for the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment - a plan put forward by governments, UN agencies, and leading scientific organizations to allow an on-going monitoring and evaluation of the health of the world's ecosystems.

The full report  can be ordered from the World Resources Institute. Copies of A Guide to World Resources 2000-2001: People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life can be downloaded at http://www.wri.org/wri/wrr2000

( Source: UNEP News Release 00/47 of 18 April 2000)

updated 14 August 2001

The latest assessment of the Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2000 documents the continuing deterioration of coral reefs in all areas where human activities are concentrated, notably along the coast of eastern Africa, all of continental South Asia, throughout Southeast and East Asia and across the wider Caribbean region. The report, released by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Bali in October 2000, summarizes national and regional reports prepared by many reef experts around the world. 

It shows that by late 2000, 27% of the world’s reefs have been effectively lost, with the
largest single cause being the massive climate-related coral bleaching event of 1998. This destroyed about 16% of the coral reefs of the world in 9 months during the largest El Niño and La Niña climate changes ever recorded. While there is a good chance that many of the 16% of damaged reefs will recover slowly, probably half of these reefs will never adequately recover. These will add to the 11% of the world’s reefs already lost due to human impacts such as sediment and nutrient pollution, over-exploitation and mining of sand and rock and development on, and ‘reclamation’ of, coral reefs. 

Among the reports on which the global report is based is Coral Reef Degredation in the Indian Ocean: Status Report 2000 published by the Coral Reef Degredation in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO) project. Other more detailed reports will be made available in due course.

Coral reefs have been under increasing stress from over-fishing, land-based pollution and unsustainable exploitation, but their decline has accelerated massively with the unprecedented widespread coral bleaching beginning in 1998, and probably linked to climate change from global warming. A new episode of coral bleaching was reported in the mid-Pacific from mid-February to late April 2000, associated with La Niña, the reverse of El Niño. Hot spots ranging from the Solomon Islands to Easter Island measured 30-31.5 degrees C caused bleaching in 50 to 90 percent of the corals. For instance, in Fiji, up to 90 percent of corals bleached down to a depth of 30 metres. All coral species were affected, although some shallow water populations showed selective recovery.

Coral bleaching was first recorded as a major world-wide problem during the 1998 El Niño. For instance, on the Belize barrier reef in the Caribbean, the 1998 bleaching caused the first recorded collapse from bleaching of the dominant coral species in more than 3,000 years. For further details, see widespread coral bleaching on the Emerging issues page.

In response to these growing threats to coral reefs, UNEP established a new Coral Reef Unit in December 2000. The new unit is responsible for UNEP's participation in the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), a unique collaboration of important international organizations in coral reef science and conservation initiated with the financial support of the United Nations Foundation. In March 2001, the UNF announced its largest environmental grant ever, up to $10 million, to support the action phase of ICRAN. ICRAN aims to reverse the trend of global degradation of coral reefs and to maintain the biodiversity and health of reefs through practical action in the field.

(Sources: Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2000; ICRI Press Release, 26 May 2000; UNF press release 19 March 2001)

up-dated 16 May 2001
Balkans Environmental Assessments

The most recent assessment by the UNEP Balkans Unit is Depleted Uranium in Kosovo: Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment, published in April 2001, which addresses the international concern over the human and environmental risks of the residues left by munitions containing depleted uranium used during the conflict.

The Balkans Unit, formerly the Balkans Task Force, has been following up on the hot spots it identified for urgent clean-up in its report described below. It also responded to the Danube pollution emergency in April 2000. As an emergency response to the cyanide spill at the Baia-Mare gold mine in northwestern Romania, some of the Balkans Task Force (BTF) scientists working in Yugoslavia took water quality samples from the river Danube. One of the BTF scientists' two mobile laboratories, which were being used for other work in Serbia, was re-directed for the emergency sampling. This response was then followed up by a specially-assembled team that took further samples along the affected rivers to evaluate the impacts of the pollution incident. The results suggested that levels of cyanide concentration in the river Danube in Yugoslavia were not an immediate threat to human health via drinking water supplies. However, measurements indicated levels of concentration slightly above the recommended safe-levels with regards to toxicity for certain fish species. UNEP worked closely with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Chemical Accidents Group of OECD to organize a reliable initial assessment of the immediate risks from the cyanide spill to the environment and human health of the people affected.

The Joint  UNEP/UNCHS (Habitat) Balkans Task Force (BTF) released its report, "The Kosovo Conflict: Consequences for the Environment and Human Settlements," in October 1999. It concluded that the Kosovo conflict did not cause an environmental catastrophe affecting the Balkans region as a whole, but that pollution detected at four environmental "hot spots" (Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad and Bor), was serious and posed a threat to human health. At these sites, all in Serbia, immediate clean-up action was called for. It also concluded that much of the pollution identified pre-dated the conflict and that there was widespread evidence of long-term deficiencies in the treatment of hazardous waste.

The BTF focused its work on environmental consequences of the conflict in five areas: industrial sites, the Danube river, biodiversity in protected areas, human settlements and the environment in Kosovo, and the possible consequences for the environment and human health of depleted uranium (DU) weapons used in the conflict.

The BTF report is available on the Web at http://www.grid.unep.ch/btf. More recent information from the UNEP Balkans Unit is at http://balkans.unep.ch/.

(Sources: UNEP News Releases 99/112 of 14 October 1999; 2000/14 of 15 February 2000 and 00/18 of 20 February 2000 )

updated 14 August 2001
As part of UNEP.Net, GRID-Geneva maintains a daily World Forest and Other Wildfires Status Report at http://www.grid.unep.ch/activities/earlywarning/fires/. UNEP and its partners have also published a useful report on Wildland Fires and the Environment: a Global Synthesis (Environmental Information and Assessment Technical Report UNEP/DEIA&EW/TR.99-1). The report summarizes for decision-makers the environmental and health risks from fires and the techniques available to monitor and hopefully reduce the impacts of fires in the future. It is available from Dr. Ashbindu Singh, Regional Coordinator, DEIA&EW North America, EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls, SD 57198, USA, E-mail: singh@edcmail.cr.usgs.gov

The Global Fire Monitoring Centre provides access to near-real-time reports on the status of forest and wildfires around the world,as well as international forest fire news, at http://www.uni-freiburg.de/fireglobe/. For further information, see the Forest Fires section of the Emerging Issues page.

(Sources:  UNEP (1999). J.S. Levine, T. Bobbe, N. Ray, A. Singh and R.G. Witt. Wildland Fires and the Environment: a Global Synthesis (Environmental Information and Assessment Technical Report UNEP/DEIA&EW/TR.99-1);  International Herald Tribune 7-8 August 1999, p. 6)

14 August 2001 
UNEP has released an environmental assessment report entitled “The Mesopotamian Marshlands: Demise of an Ecosystem”. The report, which was prepared by GRID-Geneva in collaboration with GRID-Sioux Falls and the Regional Office for West Asia, is available on-line at: 


9 February 2001
The United Nations Environment Programme has launched the pilot version of UNEP.NET, its new global environmental information network on the Internet. The new web site at http://www.unep.net/ includes the Explorer search tool, country profiles and the Protected Areas Atlas. Further components will be added as they are developed. The new site aims to provide integrated global information on the state of and trends in the environment provided by many partners. It has been designed by the UNEP Division of Early Warning and Assessment in collaboration with the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) and other partners. The official launching took place on 8 February 2001 during UNEP's Governing Council in Nairobi.

updated 16 May 2001
With the transfer of the former Coordinator of Earthwatch, Arthur Dahl, as Director of the new UNEP Coral Reef Unit in the Division of Environmental Conventions, responsibility for Earthwatch Coordination has now devolved on other staff in the Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA) as follows:

Tim Foresman, Director of DEWA, will represent UNEP in plenary sessions of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). Tim Foresman will also be the focal point for liaison with the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) of ICSU, IGBP and other international scientific programmes.

Overall responsibility for UN System-wide Earthwatch now rests with Dave MacDevette, head of the Assessment Branch, supported by the Assessment Branch Partnership Management Unit. An Earthwatch Coordination Officer will be recruited in Geneva through the GRID-Geneva partnership to handle day-to-day activities, organize meetings of the Earthwatch Working Party, arrange UN system inputs to GEO, oversee maintenance of the Earthwatch web-site, etc. 

Dave MacDevette takes over responsibility for Environmental Indicators in close collaboration with Ashbindu Singh. Indicators are a prime tool in assessment processes and will form the input reporting framework for the annual UNEP State of the Environment Reports.

Ashbindu Singh will be the UNEP focal point on environmental statistics and represent UNEP on the ACC Subcommittee on Statistical Activities

Global Observing Systems (GCOS, GOOS, and GTOS) and the Sponsors Group for the G3OS will be the responsibility of the Early Warning Branch, with Dan Claasen as the designated focal point for the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) Partnership. Maintenance of the IGOS-P web-site has been transferred to IOC-UNESCO. Arthur Dahl will continue in his new role to take the lead in the development of a coral reef theme under IGOS.

It may still take some time to put all these arrangements in place, so the continued understanding and patience of the Earthwatch partners would be appreciated.

updated 18 February 2001
UNEP has updated and extended its review of international scientific advisory processes, first undertaking in 1998 (see below). The Second Report on International Scientific Advisory Processes on the Environment and Sustainable Development (UNEP Early Warning and Assessment Technical Report UNEP/DEWA/TR.01-1) provides valuable inputs to the review of information for decision-making at the ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in April 2001. It also sheds new light on issues relevant to the coordination of international conventions. In particular, it provides useful insights into the processes by which scientific knowledge influences international decision-making processes. A web version of the revised report with extensive hyperlinks was posted on the web in February 2001.

The original  Report on International Scientific Advisory Processes on the Environment and Sustainable Development served as a background document for the review of science for sustainable development (Agenda 21 Chapter 35) at the Commission on Sustainable Development in April 1998. The report, published as a UNEP Environment Information and Assessment Technical Report (UNEP/DEIA/TR.98-1), reviews the diversity of international scientific advisory bodies and raises some important issues about their independence, their relation to policy-making, their potential for capacity-building, and the need to avoid duplication, especially among scientific and technical advisory processes under the conventions.

updated 16 May 2001
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development selected Information for Decision-making and Participation (Chapter 40 of Agenda 21) as its major cross-cutting theme for its ninth session in New York on 16-27 April 2001. The UN Division for Sustainable Development and UNEP Earthwatch are co-task managers for this theme, and the Earthwatch Working Party has served as the major interagency consultation mechanism. The Report of the Secretary-General to CSD-9 on this topic, and other background documents, are available on the CSD web site. The CSD Ad hoc Intersessional Working Group on Information for Decision-making and Participation met on 12-16 March 2001to prepare the basis for negotiations at CSD-9. The most difficult issue was the future of the CSD Programme of Work on Indicators of Sustainable Development, but this was resolved after all-night negotiations.

To prepare for CSD-9, an International Expert Meeting on Information for Decision Making and Participation was hosted by the Government of Canada in Ottawa on 25-28 September 2000. The meeting, attended by more than 60 experts from governments, international organizations and civil society, provided advice and recommendations to CSD on the kinds of policies that should be adopted by governments to further implementation of chapter 40 of Agenda 21, on information for decision making. Its report made substantive inputs to the report of the Secretary General on this topic. The Background Paper for the meeting is on this site, and the Report is available on the CSD web site as a pdf document.

The UN system Partners in Earthwatch may wish to update the sections of this web site describing their activities on information for decision-making on environment and sustainable development. A Questionnaire is available for all the Earthwatch Partners.

14 August 2001
The "Dashboard of Sustainability", a new graphic presentation of indicators of sustainable development is being developed by the JRC of the European Commission and other partners with the cooperation of the Consultative Group on Indicators of Sustainable Development. Demonstration versions are now available for user testing with several different data sets. The dashboard was successfully demonstrated at the Commission on Sustainable Development in April 2001. Maps have now been added to the latest version. For more information on indicators, see the Indicators page on this site.

14 August 2001
The sixth inter-agency Earthwatch Working Party was held in Geneva on 13-14 March 2000, where the major topic was planning for the review of the cross-cutting issue "Information for Decision-making and Participation" at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in 2001. The meeting also discussed involvement of the UN system in the preparation of UNEP's next Global Environment Outlook GEO-3 report. The report of the meeting and the working papers considered are available in the Documents section of this web site. The next meeting will be scheduled once Earthwatch coordination is reorganized and new staff recruited.

The Earthwatch meeting was followed by a UNEP Planning Workshop on Environmental Information Systems (15-17 March 2000), one of the activities supported by the UN Foundation to implement UNEP's Environmental Observing and Assessment Strategy.

Updated 18 February 2001
UNEP's Millenium Report on the Environment, the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) 2000, is the standard international reference on the state of the planetary environment. The 398 page report, published by Earthscan, includes chapters on Global Perspectives, The State of the Environment, Policy Responses, Future Perspectives, and Outlook and Recommendations. It is available from Earthscan or on the web at: http://www.unep.org/geo2000. This is the second report in the GEO series following GEO-1 published in 1997. The third report will be released in 2002 for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The GEO-2000 report is complemented by a youth version, PACHAMAMA: OUR EARTH - OUR FUTURE, by young people of the world. This GEO for youth, based on GEO-2000, was a joint project of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Peace Child International, and is published by Evans Brothers Ltd, London. The web version is at: http://grida.no/geo2000/pacha/index.htm

18 February 2001
Global International Waters Assessment
The Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) project based in Kalmar, Sweden, is an activity falling under the UNEP Division of Early Warning and Assessment, and receives approximately 50 per cent of its funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The ultimate goal of GIWA is to provide Governments, decision-makers and funding agencies with a quantitative, scientifically accurate identification and assessment of water related issues for transboundary water bodies (marine or freshwater areas shared by two or more countries) in various sub-regions, worldwide.

GIWA concentrates on topics of critical importance to the international community, comprising 22 issues grouped into 5 major areas of concern (freshwater shortages; pollution; habitat and community modification; unsustainable exploitation of fisheries and other living resources, and global change).  GIWA has a broad geographical scope, covering 66 water subregions worldwide, grouped into 9 mega-regions for management purposes.  It adopts a holistic approach, involving political, economic and social considerations as well as environmental concerns.

This four-year assessment project will be completed by the summer of 2003 and will enable participants to prepare an integrated, strategic, global assessment of international waters.  The report will form the basis for future GEF decisions on funding of water projects within GEF's focal area 'International Waters'.. Information from the GIWA project will be made available for practical work and for education.  In addition to the electronic availability, reports and analyses will be prepared for wide circulation.

For more information, please visit the GIWA web site at www.giwa.net .
(Source: UNEP News Release 1999/114)

24 August 1999

The United Nations General Assembly has emphasized " the importance of strengthening the system-wide Earthwatch as an effective, accessible and strictly non-political science-based system". This statement in its Resolution 53/242 adopted on 28 July 1999 arose out of its consideration of the report of the high-level UN Task Force on Environment and Human Settlements, which was delivered to the Secretary-General on 15 June 1998 and publicly released by Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP and Chair of the Task Force, on 1 July 1998. One of the major sections of the report is on Information, monitoring, assessment and early warning, and makes significant recommendations to transform Earthwatch and sustain it as a fully effective system of information, monitoring and assessment. The full text of this section of the report can be consulted on this web site. The report was annexed to the Report of the Secretary-General to the UN General Assembly on UN Reform: Environment and Human Settlements, dated 6 October 1998 of which the extract on Information, monitoring, assessment and early warning is also available here. This report was first discussed in the UN General Assembly on 23 November 1998, although the GA resolution was finally adopted only on 28 July 1999 after extensive negotiations. 

updated 16 May 2001

IGOS is a strategic planning process, involving a number of partners, that links research, long-term monitoring and operational programmes, as well as data producers and users, in a structure that helps determine observation gaps and identify the resources to fill observation needs. It also provides a framework for decisions and resource allocation for Earth observing both from space and in situ.
The partners in IGOS include the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) of the world's space agencies, the Sponsors and Secretariats of the Global Observing Systems (GCOS, GOOS, GCOS), major global research programmes and the International Group of Funding Agencies.

The IGOS Partners meet twice a year in association with CEOS and G3OS meetings. Representation includes the present and past CEOS presidents and Strategic Implementation Team (SIT) chair ( for CEOS), the chair of the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA), the Directors of the three Global Observing System secretariats and representatives of their sponsors (FAO, ICSU, IOC, UNEP, UNESCO, WMO), and representatives of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). The reports of the IGOS Partnership meetings are available on the web site. The Partners have adopted a document on the IGOS Partnership Process that describes how the strategy is implemented through themes.

An IGOS web site was developed by Earthwatch and is now hosted by UNESCO IOC at www.igospartners.org, with a portfolio of documents on the development of the Integrated Global Observing Strategy.

The IGOS process is making good progress in building a coherent strategy between space agencies, observing systems, international research programmes and data users. However governments must recognize that the strategy will only be effective if they make financial and institutional provisions for long-term operational programmes of environmental observations such as those being prepared by CEOS, GCOS, GOOS and GTOS in the framework of IGOS. 


updated 14 August 2001
The sixth inter-agency Earthwatch Working Party met 13-14 March 2000 in Geneva. It  planned the preparatory process for the report on Information for Decision-making and Participation to the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2001.  The report of the meeting is available on this site, together with the working documents discussed at the meeting. The next meeting will be scheduled once Earthwatch Coordination is reorganized.

The Sixth Meeting of the Sponsors Group for the Global Observing Systems (GCOS, GOOS, GTOS) was held at IOC in Paris on 31 May 2001.  The  reports of previous meetings are available on this site. The seventh meeting will be held at UNESCO in Paris in 2002.

The seventh meeting of the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) Partners was held following the G3OS Sponsors Group in Paris on 1 June 2001. Its working documents and report are available on the meetings page of the IGOS site. 

updated 14 August 2001
Several Earthwatch partners have recently issued new assessments.  Most of them also have Web versions.

Vol. II - CLIMATE CHANGE 2001: IMPACTS - February 2001
The IPCC Third Assessment Report covers a range of scientific, technical, economic and social issues. It focusses heavily on regional aspects. The three volumes of Working Group reports will be integrated into a policy relevant Synthesis Report, which will be completed later in 2001.

WORLD RESOURCES 2000-2001: People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life - 2000 
A joint publication of the World Resources Institute (WRI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. 
World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C., 2000. 390 p. 
Web version: http://www.wri.org/wr2000
Summary Guide available at  http://www.wri.org/wri/wrr2000.

UNEP'S Millenium Report on the Environment. Second Edition.
UNEP/Earthscan, London, 1999. 398 p.
Web version: http://www.unep.org/geo2000

by young people of the world
GEO for youth, based on GEO-2000 - the Global Environment Outlook Report of UNEP.
A joint project of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Peace Child
International.  Evans Brothers Ltd, London, 1999.  96 p.
A Web version of Pachamama is available at: http://grida.no/geo2000/pacha/index.htm

Asian Development Bank, Manila
Discussion Draft available, publication expected in November 2000
Website at http://www.adb.org/environment/aeo contains:
   Downloadable AEO Discussion Draft  and Executive Summary
   Interactive Discussion Forum
   Information on AEO and its authors
   Calendar of AEO events

Balkans Unit United Nations Environment Programme, Geneva
Available on the web at http://balkans.unep.ch/du/reports/report.html

UNEP GRID-Geneva in collaboration with GRID-Sioux Falls and the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia
Available on-line at: http://www.grid.unep.ch/activities/sustainable/tigris/marshlands/

FAO Fisheries Department
FAO, Rome, 2000
Web version: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/x8002e/x8002e00.htm

edited by Clive Wilkinson, Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network
Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, 2000
Web version: http://www.reefbase.org/Summaries/GCRMN2000.htm

REEFS AT RISK: A Map-Based Indicator of Threats to the World's Coral Reefs - 1998
by Dirk Bryant, Lauretta Burke, John McManus and Mark Spaulding. 56 p.
WRI/ICLARM/WCMC/UNEP. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C., 1998
Web version: http://www.wri.org/wri/indictrs/reefrisk.htm

United Nations Development Programme, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and World Energy Council
United Nations Development Programme, New York, 2000. 508 p.

For further information on past and future assessments, see the Assessments page at this site.

Updated 14 August 2001

Joint Web Site of the Biodiversity-related Conventions
The five main biodiversity-related conventions have established a joint web site to provide rapid access through hyperlinks to related parts of each convention web site. The site is located at: http://www.biodiv.org/rioconv/websites.html

Global Observing Systems Information Center (GOSIC)
The Global Observing System Information Center (GOSIC) has been launched to provide a one-window view of  the observing requirements, the operational data systems, and access procedures for users to find and obtain data and products from the three Global Observing Systems (GCOS, GOOS and GTOS).

The UNEP Coral Reef Unit maintains document collection and bibliography in Geneva to assist with assessment processes including the Global International Waters Assessment for the GEF, the Global Programme of Action for Land-based Activities affecting the Marine Environment and the next GESAMP State of the Marine Environment report planned for 2002.  A preliminary bibliography including some relevant Web sites has been assembled to support the Global International Waters Assessment, and is available on this Web site, as is a search tool for the full bibliography.


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