Global Marine Assessments: A survey of global and regional assessments and related scientific activities of the marine environment
In 2003, UNEP and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO published 'A survey of global and regional marine environmental assessments and related scientific activities' in response to the call of the UN General Assembly (Resolution 57/141) and the Heads of States and Governments at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to establish a regular process for the global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment. Today, the urgency to understand the state and functioning of our oceans is even greater than ever. In December 2006, the 61st session of the United nations General Assembly adopted a new resolution (A/RES/61/222) on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, renewing the commitment of Member States to support the implementation of the start-up phase: the Assessment of Assessments of the Regular Process. This sequel builds on the 2003 survey to provide a starting point for the Assessment of Assessments. It lays out the components of an effective assessment and summarizes the key considerations for establishing an assessment process, the findings of this latest survey, an analysis of gaps and emerging issues. It also draws lessons from completed assessment processes. The report is supported by an interactive online database tool which enables the user to search through assessments and activities relating to the marine envisionment, providing information on the activities and their implementation. The report and database together are intended to inform and facilitate the task of the Group of Experts undertaking the Assessment of Assessments by providing easy access to essential background information. These tools also provide a valuable new resource for decision makers having to deal with marine environmental issues.