UN Environment’s Sixth Global Environment Outlook (2019) calls on decision makers to take immediate action to address pressing environmental issues to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as well as other Internationally Agreed Environment Goals, such as the Paris Agreement.

GEO-6 builds on the findings of previous GEO reports and brings together a community of hundreds of scientists, peer reviewers and collaborating institutions and partners to build on sound scientific knowledge to provide governments, local authorities, businesses and individual citizens with the information needed to guide societies to a truly sustainable world by 2050.

SEI’s Catherine McMullen was coordinating lead author on much of the North American Regional Assessment and served as coordinating lead author for GEO-6’s Chapter 4 on cross-cutting issues.  Chapter 4 presents a new approach in the GEO assessment process by analyzing selected cross-cutting issues that illustrate the pressing need for more integrated and transformative policy processes.  Using a systems approach, the cross-cutting issues offer entry points for analysing GEO-6 themes and understanding the network of interconnections throughout Earth and human systems. The issues in this chapter are grouped according to shared characteristics: health, environmental disasters, gender, education and urbanization are grouped as ‘people and livelihoods’; climate change, polar and mountain regions, chemicals and waste and wastewater are grouped as ‘changing environments’; and resource use, energy and food systems are considered as ‘resources and materials’.