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Africa Environment Outlook


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About AEO

Background

African Ministers of Environment have taken a leadership role towards harnessing the knowledge and understanding of the region's environmental resources for the formulation of appropriate socio-economic policies necessary to achieve and sustain development in Africa. At the 8th Session of the African Ministers Conference on Environment (AMCEN), in April 2000, the Ministers decided that an Africa Environment Outlook (AEO) Report should be prepared to provide a comprehensive scientific assessment of the environment, policies, and environmental management programmes.

This decision was affirmed at the AMCEN Inter-sessional Committee, which met in Malmo, Sweden in May 2000.

The first report, AEO-1, was launched during AMCEN’s 9th session in Kampala in July 2002, where it was acknowledged as a flagship publication. This report has continued to inspire dialogue in the region and has been used as the primary background document in the preparation of the NEPAD Environment Action Plan (NEPAD-EAP) – showing strong links between environmental assessment and policy making. The 10th AMCEN session, in June 2004, reaffirmed its endorsement of the AEO process as a valuable monitoring and reporting tool for sustainable environmental management and to provide a framework for national, sub-regional and regional integrated environmental assessment and reporting in Africa.

During the 22nd session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, held in February 2003 in Nairobi, the AMCEN decision on the
AEO process was endorsed under decision GC 22/9, which recommended that UNEP continue to support the process. In May 2003, UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA) launched the process of preparing the second report, Africa Environment Outlook 2 – Our Environment, Our Wealth (AEO-2).



What is AEO?

The AEO report is prepared using the Integrated Environment and Assessment and reporting (IEA) methodology derived from the UNEP Global Environment Outlook (GEO) process and answers five consecutive questions that are key to effective decision making.

These are:
  1. What is happening to the environment?
  2. Why is it happening?
  3. What is the impact?
  4. What can we do and what are we doing about it?
  5. What will happen if we do not act now?
The AEO report:
  • Incorporates sound data, information and science, sub-regional, national and multi-stakeholder perspectives, priority emerging issues with a strong orientation toward sustainable development;
  • Examines the state of the environment over the last 30 years, the driving forces behind environmental change, and the consequences for social and economic development
  • Examines the vulnerability of human populations to floods, droughts, earthquakes, pests and diseases;
  • Explores the links between environmental change and poverty, and identifies appropriate intervention;
  • Presents a series of possible alternatives for the future based upon potential decisions and actions by policy makers;
  • Recommends priority actions;
  • Marks significant collaboration between UNEP and AMCEN;
The report is also supported by selected case studies focusing on some of its main findings. The case studies have been published separately under as an AEO complimentary report titled "Africa Environment Outlook Case Studies: Human Vulnerability to Environmental Change".