First World Ocean Assessment Published by the UN

Bonn, 26 January 2016 – The First Global Integrated Marine Assessment – also known as the First World Ocean Assessment - has been published by the United Nations.  Following a recommendation of the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, that there should be a regular process for the global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, the assessment has been in the making since 2010.

The assessment can be found on the website of the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.  The oceans contain 97% of all the water on the planet, are a vital source of food and minerals, and an important highway for transporting goods and communications as well as a reservoir of potential energy in the form of tidal and wave power.

Produced through the essentially voluntary effort of hundreds of experts in many fields, the assessment address a number of issues of relevance to CMS and its instruments. Several CMS instruments are mentioned and contributors include Randall Reeves, who facilitated the working group that drafted the Jastarnia Plan under ASCOBANS and Ross Wanless, the leader of the South African Albatross Task Force, well known within the CMS Family for his contributions to ACAP and AEWA.  Part VI of the Assessment – on marine biological diversity and habitats – includes chapters on marine mammals, seabirds, marine reptiles and sharks and other elasmobranchs, while other sections consider issues such as fishing, shipping, marine debris and marine-based energy industries, all being addressed by CMS and its instruments in relation to migratory species conservation and sustainable use.

In his foreword, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlines the importance of the Assessment as a guide to future decision-making relating to the world’s oceans and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

“The first World Ocean Assessment provides an important scientific basis for the consideration of ocean issues by Governments, intergovernmental processes, and all policy-makers and others involved in ocean affairs. The Assessment reinforces the science-policy interface and establishes the basis for future assessments. Together with future assessments and related initiatives, it will help in the implementation of the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly its ocean-related goals.”


Last updated on 26 January 2016