The sixth Global Environment Outlook was launched in 2019 at the fourth UN Environment Assembly. It highlighted the ongoing damage to life and health from pollution and land degradation and warned that zoonosis was already accounting for more than 60% of human infectious diseases. Since then the spread of COVID-19 has demonstrated the enormous challenges a global pandemic can cause for health care systems and the economy, as well as revealing potential environmental benefits of an altered lifestyle. This Technical Summary synthesizes the science and data in the GEO-6 report to make it accessible to a broad audience of policymakers, students and scientists. It demonstrates that more urgent and sustained action is required to address the degradation caused by our energy, food and waste systems and identifies a variety of transformational pathways for those seeking far-reaching policies for environmental and economic recovery.
1. A healthy planet supports healthy people
2. Five drivers affect the health of the planet
3. An Increasingly unhealthy planet affects everyone's health
4. Despite some success stories, policy measures lag behind
5. A healthy planet and healthy people are synergetic: Achieving transformative change
6. Data and knowledge for a healthy planet
Annex 1. Examples of other global environmental assessments and their links to GEO-6
7. Acronyms and abbreviations
The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Its mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
"The sixth Global Environment Outlook is an essential check-up for our planet. Like any good medical examination, there is a clear prognosis of what will happen if we continue with business as usual and a set of recommended actions to put things right. GEO-6 details both the perils of delaying action and the opportunities that exist to make sustainable development a reality."
– António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
"The global pandemic COVID-19 has demonstrated the interconnected nature of the planet's life support systems and that we cannot return to business as usual. And the good news is that in building back better, we can ensure both a healthy environment and healthy people."
– Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme