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The Governing Council, Pursuing its functions and responsibilities as outlined in General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII) of 15 December 1972, including to keep under review the world environmental situation in order to ensure that emerging environmental problems of wide international significance are prioritized and receive appropriate and adequate consideration by Governments and to promote the contribution of relevant international scientific and other professional communities to the acquisition, assessment and exchange of environmental knowledge and information, Recalling its decisions 22/1 on early warning, assessment and monitoring, 23/6 on keeping the world environmental situation under review and 24/2 on the world environmental situation, Welcoming the preparation and publication of the fourth Global Environment Outlook report by the Executive Director, including the intergovernmentally and stakeholder endorsed Summary for Decision Makers, Welcoming with appreciation the in-kind contributions to the fourth Global Environment Outlook report of experts, Governments, United Nations bodies, collaborating centres, the private sector and civil society, as well as the statement adopted by the participants at the Second Global Intergovernmental and Multi Stakeholder Consultation on the Fourth Global Environment Outlook Report, held in September 2007, in which they endorsed the report’s Summary for Decision Makers, 1. Expresses its continued deep concern over the evidence in the assessment report of unprecedented environmental changes at all levels, including the natural and social time lags involved in addressing those changes and the risk that biophysical and social systems can reach tipping points beyond which there may be abrupt, accelerating and possibly irreversible changes and potentially negative implications for human well-being and economic and social development, especially for the poor and vulnerable groups in society; 2. Acknowledges that current environmental degradation represents a serious challenge for human well-being and sustainable development, and in some cases peace and security, and that for many problems the benefits of early action outweigh the costs and represent opportunities for the private sector, consumers and local communities for strengthened cooperation at the national and international levels to achieve sustainable development; 3 Welcomes the progress that has been made on several fronts in addressing the challenges outlined in the report and encourages greater sharing of lessons learned and best practices and their broader application; 4. Stresses that the transition toward sustainable development may involve hard choices among different concerns and interests in society which need to be supported by well-governed, effectively managed, innovative and results-oriented institutions able to create appropriate conditions for change and that the United Nations Environment Programme should promote such efforts and lead by example; 5. Encourages Governments, the United Nations Environment Programme and other United Nations bodies, international organizations, the private sector, civil society and the public at large to work at the global, regional, national and local levels to achieve sustainable development and to take timely action to prevent, mitigate and adapt to unprecedented environmental change; 6. Requests the Executive Director to encourage and support where possible, within the framework of the Bali Strategic Plan, the efforts of national bodies to conduct national assessments of environmental change and its implications for development; 7. Also requests the Executive Director, in building on the experiences gained from the preparation of the fourth Global Environment Outlook report and other environmental assessments as well as other recent developments aimed at strengthening the scientific base of the United Nations Environment Programme, to present to the Governing Council at its next session, in consultation with the Committee of Permanent Representatives: (a) An overview, prepared in close cooperation with multilateral environmental agreements and other United Nations entities, of the international environmental assessment landscape, identifying possible gaps and duplications; (b) Options for the possible development of a scientifically credible and policy-relevant global assessment of environmental change and its implications for development, including a cost analysis and an indicative benefit analysis for each option.