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1. Introduction

The Global Environmental Outlook is a major process that attempts to put environmental trends into a development perspective:

“The UNEP Global Environment Outlook GEO) project was initiated in response to the environmental reporting requirements of Agenda 21 and to a UNEP Governing Council decision of May 1995 which requested the production of a new comprehensive global state of the environment report.

The GEO reports are produced using a participatory and consultative approach. Input is solicited from a wide range of sources throughout the world, including the collaborating centre network, United Nations organizations, partner institutions and independent experts. During the preparation of the report, UNEP organizes consultations inviting policy makers and other stakeholders to review and comment on draft materials. Drafts also undergo extensive peer review. This iterative process is designed to ensure that the contents are scientifically credible and policy relevant to users in different parts of the world and with different environmental information needs.

Three GEO reports have been published to date: GEO-1 in 1997; GEO-2000 in 1999 and GEO-3 in 2002. The next comprehensive GEO report (GEO-4) is due in September 2007. “

(Source: UNEP (2006))

This paper documents inputs to Chapter 3 of GEO-4, specifically the development of a global land use change matrix to illustrate the fluxes of land use between key categories.

The development of such a matrix has, apparently, not been done before. Existing global monitoring and assessment systems have reported only partially on global land use change. Therefore the paper attempts to piece together sources of original statistics to a coherent overview of change processes.

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