Press release

Blueprint for Better Management of the Planet's Nature-Based Resources Launched

April 26, 2007

IISD and UNEP Collaborate on New Educational Initiative—the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Resource Book

Image removed.

Training Manual Pre-Launch: May 10, 2007 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Founders Room, University of Maryland University College, Inn and Conference Centre, Marriott College Park, Maryland (near Washington, D.C.)

Our global environment is under attack. In order to accurately measure the damage done and assess our attempts to ameliorate it, we need timely and sensitive environmental data.

Utilizing a process known as Integrated Environmental Assessment (IEA), the United Nations Environment Programme's GEO has become an essential tool to report on environmental trends and policies, their impacts on human well-being, and our options for the future.

However, running an effective IEA requires careful planning and capacity. In response to needs expressed by governments and other partners, UNEP has engaged the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to provide key educational materials for the development of IEA projects throughout the world.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "The recent Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that two thirds of our ecosystems—from forests and fisheries to wetlands and waterways—are damaged or being over exploited. It is not a recipe for a sustainable present let alone a sustainable future".

"The UNEP GEO process is part of the response towards better and more sustainable management of these economically and socially significant natural and nature-based resources. Sound and solid environmental assessments provide the basis for action," he added.

"The new book, which distills the environmental assessment expertise and experience of over 40 leading experts working in this field, can therefore educate and assist others towards a more intelligent trajectory for the global economy. In doing so, it can also aid international efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and beyond," said Mr Steiner.

The GEO Resource Book will incorporate a flexible, modular design, allowing sections to be used in a workshop session or as a whole. The book will also be available in a CD format for easy shipping and plans are being developed to make it accessible as an e-learning tool online. It is envisioned as a living document that will be periodically updated based on the experience and needs of its users.

The training manual is being launched as part of the "Global Assessments: Bridging Scales and Linking to Policy" Workshop - a joint event of the Integrated Assessment Society (TIAS) and the Global Water System Project (GWSP) May 9-11, 2007.

The GEO Resource Book will be available this spring in print and electronic form on both the web sites of UNEP and IISD and on CD-ROM. Editions in official UN languages will follow.

For more information, please contact Donna Huffam or:

  • Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox
    UNEP Regional Office for North America
    Phone: (202) 974-1307

  • Nick Nuttall
    UNEP Spokesperson
    Phone: (254-20) 762-3084

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.