Africa Environment Outlook (2nd report)


Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Regional
Country or countries covered
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

To examine the state of existing resources and highlight the opportunities and potential (current and future) of these to achieve sustainable development, eradicate poverty and reduce vulnerability, and enhance environmental sustainability.

The AEO-2 addresses five questions:

  • How and why is the environment important from a human perspective?

  • How is the environment changing and why, and what opportunities does it hold?

  • Are there special issues which affect the environment and development that require immediate attention or new approaches?

  • How will different policy choices affect the road to the future?

  • What can be done to ensure development and improve quality of life while ensuring that environmental value is retained?

Mandate for the assessment

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Global Environment Outlook (GEO)

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

System(s) assessed

  • Marine
  • Coastal
  • Inland water
  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Genetic resources


Supporting Services/Functions

Cultural Services

  • Recreation and tourism

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

Periodicity of assessment


If repeated, how frequently

AEO published in 2002, AEO-2 in 2006, and AEO-3 is currently underway.

Assessment outputs


Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Stakeholder involvement was a result of the wide consultations undertaken by the hundreds of contributors to AEO-2. A companion volume, Human Vulnerability to Environmental Change, contains a series of case studies that involved stakeholders in their preparation. Governments were fully involved in the preparation of AEO-2, providing data and other information.

Key stakeholder groups engaged

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

The data used came from Governments, international agencies, collaborating centres, peer-reviewed literature and consultations with stakeholders.

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

Its policy impact derives from the strong support of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, the apex body for the environment in Africa. At least 22 individual countries and five subregions have adopted the AEO assessment framework in preparing their own environment outlook reports. AEO was used in the development of the Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, which provides the framework for environmental programmes in the region.

AEO-2 is also expected to contribute to implementing the Millennium Development Goals. Collaborating organizations include the Agence internationale pour le développement de l’information environnementale, the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe, the Indian Ocean Commission, the Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa and the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre. They also help to enhance the policy impact and relevance of AEO-2.

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Additional relevant information