On 6 June 2012, on the eve of Rio+20, the Fifth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) Report, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s most comprehensive assessment of the global environment, was launched. The report finds that the world remains on an unsustainable track despite hundreds of internationally agreed goals and objectives, but ambitious sustainability targets can be met with renewed commitment and rapid scaling-up of successful policies.
The event in Brussels highlighted key findings and recommendations of the report, particularly from an EU perspective. Jan Dusik, UNEP Europe Acting Regional Director, noted that “we can see some successes in decoupling the environmental pressures from the economic growth but overall we see that large parts of Europe are consuming in an unsustainable way the resources that are available”.
Marcel Kok, Dutch Environmental Authority (PBL) and GEO-5 author, stated that meeting ambitious sustainability goals was possible but required major changes, including the strengthening of current policies and strategies, changes in consumption and production patterns, changes in value systems, and stronger results-based approaches and accountability measures.
Jacqueline McGlade from the European Environment Agency pointed out that GEO-5 was “a step in the right direction towards more cooperation”, while Jeremy Wates from the European Environment Bureau noted that “we should use the very sobering conclusions of this report to really step up the efforts in the Rio process”. The event was hosted and moderated by Matthias Groote, MEP & Environment Committee Chairperson.