21 Issues for the 21st Century -- Result of the UNEP Foresight Process on Emerging Environmental Issues
UNEP, 2012
by: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

A complete overhaul of the way the planet is managed is urgently needed if the challenges of global sustainability are to be met for seven billion people. This is the conclusion of a wide-ranging Foresight Process conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), involving a Foresight Panel and more than 400 leading scientists and experts from around the world.

UNEP?s Foresight Process was an eight-month process to identify and rank the most pressing emerging issues in the sphere of the environment-- issues which perhaps do not currently receive the attention they deserve - but which have a huge impact on the planet and on human well-being.

While the scientific community is on the frontline of assessing emerging threats and finding innovative solutions to environmental challenges, the report reveals that they need more support from international political and delivery structures if real progress is to be made and a sustainable century realized.

UNEP?s Foresight Panel consists of 22 distinguished members of the scientific community from 16 developing and industrialized countries, covering all world regions and who are internationally recognized because of their expertise in one or more environmental or related issues.

The Panel, whose findings were released on 20 February 2012 at the opening of the 12th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, selected a preliminary list of 21 emerging issues after a first round of debate on more than 90 issues.

Based on their responses, the panel produced a ranked list of ?21 Issues for the 21st Century?, concluding that the number one issue facing the planet is Aligning Governance to the Challenges of Global Sustainability.