The UNEP Foresight Process is a project designed by the UNEP Chief Scientist for identifying emerging environmental issues and prioritising them for in-depth analysis, based on a broad consultation process.
The identification of priority emerging environmental issues based on such a Consultation will carry a very strong message to the world community. This report will serve several purposes:
1. It will be a major contribution of UNEP to the “Emerging Issues” theme of the Rio 2012 Earth Summit.
2. It will be presented at the Global Ministerial Environment Forum – as an input to discussions on future issues for UNEP and the global environmental community.
3. It will also be presented to the Global Environment Facility Council and its Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) – as direct input to discussions on future programs of the GEF.
4. Inputs to preparation of the UNEP Program of Work (PoW) 2012-13 through briefings given to UNEP senior management, plus distribution of the “Emerging Issues” document.
5. Inputs to the Emerging Issues chapter of the next UNEP Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5) report through meetings with GEO-5 staff, plus distribution of the “Emerging Issues” document.
6. Inputs to selection of issues and planning of the UNEP Annual Yearbook through meetings with Yearbook staff, plus distribution of the “Emerging Issues” document.
7. Finally, it will provide guidance on subjects where more knowledge is needed by the scientific community, thus helping the scientific community and institutions financing the research to better target needs to bridge the gaps in our understanding of these important issues.
Following the identification of the main priority emerging environmental issues, the next logical step is environment policies and concrete actions to mitigate the impacts of these issues.