Clear Summaries of Scientific Reports on

Sustainable development

Sustainability is the capacity to meet our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. How sustainable are current practices?

How sustainable are current practices?


Agriculture is closely linked to many concerns, including biodiversity loss, global warming and water availability.

The 2008 International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) focuses on how to make better use of agricultural science, knowledge and technology to reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods, and foster equitable and sustainable development. More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr] [nl

Bee losses

Are the causes of bee losses now well identified ? More...

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr


Biochar can be used as fuel or as a fertilizer, and is particularly relevant to developing countries. More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Climate impact of shale gas

What are the greenhouse gas emissions and climate implications of shale gas exploitation? More...

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

CO2 Capture & Storage

One possible option for reducing CO2 emissions is to store it underground. This technique is called Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS).

How does it work? Could it really help addressing climate change?

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides answers in a special report. More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr] [nl


Desertification, the persistent degradation of drylands, threatens many livelihoods.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) produced in 2005 by a large international panel of scientists explored possible options to avoid or reverse desertification and its negative impacts. More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Ecosystem Change

Humans depend heavily on ecosystem for benefits such as food, but we also have a tremendous impact on them.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) produced in 2005 by a large international panel of scientists explored possible options to avoid or reverse desertification and its negative impacts. More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Soils degradation

Soil is a vital resource for food security, but in Europe it is being degraded by pollution, overuse, and erosion. How could soil be protected? More...

Summary available in [en


The UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) regularly assesses the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. The key findings of its latest assessment were released in 2009.

Indeed, many fish stocks are being overexploited, and the international nature of the resources makes them difficult to manage. Is the current food supply in danger? More...

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr] [nl


Forests provide a wide range of benefits and are heavily exploited.

Every 5 years the UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) updates its Global Forest Resources Assessment.

Its latest update published in 2006 considers what progress has been made towards sustainable forest management across the world. More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Forests & Energy

In coming years, the world’s energy consumption is expected to increase dramatically. While fossil fuels will remain an important source of energy, renewable energies will also gain importance. Could biofuels derived from forests help meet the energy demand? More...

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr] [nl

Genetically Modified Crops

We are regularly confronted with genetically modified foods, be it in the news or on our plates. In what way are GM crops different from conventional crops? What is known about the possible risks for human health or the environment? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Food Wastage

It is estimated by the FAO that each year, one-third of produced for all food human consumption in the world is lost or wasted. This has impacts for food security and for the environment. More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

India Millennium Development Goals

How did India fare in meeting the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


Serious questions are being raised about the environmental impacts of producing liquid biofuels for transport, the costs of policies to promote them and their possible unintended consequences.

What could be the future role of biofuels for agriculture, food security and climate change? More...

Summary available in [de] [en] [nl

Phosphate resources

How can phosphate resources be managed to ensure food security? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Shale Gas

New sources of gas are being increasingly being mobilized in order to meet the demand.

One such important source is shale gas, which needs for extraction a process called « hydraulic fracturing », what are the potential health and environmental risks of it? More...

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

State of the European Environment

A comprehensive assessment of Europe’s progress towards achieving environmental sustainability. More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


Vaccination saves millions of lives each year. How do they work and is there still progress to be made? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Solar Energy

Solar power has become significantly cheaper in the last few years, and installed capacity has grown substantially in the same period. What are the advances that are needed to reduce the cost further and deploy the technology on a larger scale ? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Sand Extraction

The extensive use of sand and gravel in the production of concrete is having consequences on the environment.

What exactly is happening ? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Tidal Energy

Tidal energy is a predictable renewable energy source. What is the potential or this energy source? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Sustainable oceans

How can we ensure that the sustainable use of the services and resouces that the oceans offer ? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Indonesian forests

More forest is cut down each year in Indonesia than in any other country.

What can be done to preserve Indonesia’s forests ? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Wastewater management

How can we better manage our wastewater in order to relieve some of the pressure on water resources? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Water Resources

Water is essential for human survival and well-being and important to many sectors of the economy. Yet, resources are unevenly distributed and they are under pressure due to human activity. How can water resources be managed sustainably while meeting an ever increasing demand? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr] [nl

Health Environment Management

Worldwide, the fraction of the global burden for both death and disease associated to environmental risks is 22%.

To what extent can environmental management better protect people’s health? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy comes from the natural heat of the earth. It is used in some areas for electricity production and heating. What is the place of geothermal energy in the energy mix? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Wind Resources

Wind blows everywhere on the planet, and can be converted to electricity by wind turbines.

How much wind power capacity is there in the world? More...

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Themes covered
Publications A-Z