Assessment of Assessments (AoA)

The “Assessment of Assessments” is being undertaken as part of the START-UP PHASE OF THE REGULAR PROCESS (In accordance with paragraph 64 (a) of UNGA resolution 58/240). It was requested for by governments in order to serve as one of the main foundations for the development of a regular process for the global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects. It builds on the work done by other international forums and, either directly or indirectly through those forums, by national authorities concerned with the marine environment.

Why are assessments necessary?

  • To better understand the status, trends, interrelations, scenarios and predictions in ecosystem conditions, goods, services, stress and non-use values to humans and vulnerability, resilience, and adaptability.
  • To gain a better understanding of how human activities put pressure on and impact ecosystems.
  • To develop responses and policy options.

In addition, a scoping study requested UNEP and IOC of UNESCO in collaboration with UNEP-WCMC (GMA Survey 2003 and 2007) indicated that:

  • There is a need for a clear overview at the national, regional and global levels. There are relatively few marine areas subjected to broadly based assessments. They appear to be a range of thematic assessments either completed, under way or planned BUT they are limited in both temporal and spatial coverage.
  • There is a wealth of information available about the marine environment and new information is becoming available BUT there persists a lack of an overview, in particular on the links between the state of the marine environment and cross cutting issues of human health, seafood safety and sustainable fisheries. Regular assessments of the impact of human activity on the state of the marine environment at national, regional and global level are therefore needed to inform decision making.
  • There is a need to ensure co-ordination at the national, regional and international levels in the development of sound policy recommendations based on the assessment reportsĀ  as the oceans are a global common.

The Assessment of Assessments (AoA) for a Regular process:

  • Does not alter the competence of any organization to undertake marine assessments within its field of competence.
  • Does not make any new assessments about the state of the oceans or about the state of any particular environmental component or human activity but brings together and reviews existing assessments to evaluate their strengths and to identify methods which could achieve regular and comprehensive overall assessments of the world’s oceans and seas.
  • It respects the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of coastal States over maritime zones under their jurisdiction, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • Will not make any recommendations about the management of human activities that affect the oceans. Competent authorities should draw their own conclusions about the implications for the management of activities within their fields of competence;