First Cycle of Regular Process for Assessing Global Marine Environment Concludes
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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UN Member States have considered the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment, or 'World Ocean Assessment,' including its summary, as well as lessons learned and the way forward.

They also adopted recommendations on the 'Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects,' during the sixth meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole, which convened from 8-11 September at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

DOALOS11 September 2015: UN Member States have considered the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment, or ‘World Ocean Assessment,’ including its summary, as well as lessons learned and the way forward. They also adopted recommendations on the ‘Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects,’ during the sixth meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole, which convened from 8-11 September, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

The ‘Regular Process’ is tasked with improving the understanding of the world’s oceans and developing a global mechanism for providing science-based information on oceans.

The summary report of the first ‘World Ocean Assessment’ provides assessments of major marine ecosystem services, food security and food safety, human activities, and marine biological diversity and habitats. The summary also provides details with regard to the ten central report themes, which address: the impacts of climate change; the reproduction of marine biotas; food security and food safety; patterns of biodiversity; increased use of ocean space; increasing inputs of harmful material; cumulative impacts of human activities on marine biodiversity; the distribution of ocean benefits and disbenefits; integrated management of human activities affecting the ocean; and the urgency of addressing threats to the ocean. Within these ten themes, the report describes a number of critical issues that include, inter alia: plastics pollution, ocean acidification, underwater noise, fisheries and aquaculture, off-shore mining, Arctic shipping routes, land-based pollution and tourism.

In addition to consideration of the ‘World Ocean Assessment’ and its summary report, the outcome of the sixth meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole also consists of a set of suggested recommendations to the UN General Assembly (UNGA), which will be part of the report of the meeting. The draft recommendations emphasize the importance of making governments, intergovernmental organizations, the scientific community and the general public aware of the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment, and recall the UNGA decision that, in the first cycle, the scope of the Regular Process would focus on establishing a baseline and, in subsequent cycles, the scope would extend to evaluating trends.

The recommendations request the Bureau of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole to continue the consideration of lessons learned from the first cycle, including by inviting Member States, observers and other participants in the Ad Hoc Working Group to contribute by sending their views in writing to the Bureau and convening one or more informal open meetings and inform the Working Group at its seventh meeting on the views received.

The draft recommendations further request the UN Secretary-General: to convene the seventh meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole in 2016 to provide recommendations to the UNGA on the follow-up of the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment and on the implementation of the second cycle of the Regular Process, including its budget and duration and any adjustments that might be necessary, including on resource requirements, before the end of UNGA’s 70th session; and to review the resource requirements for the second cycle of the Regular Process and report to the Member States in advance of the seventh meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole.

The recommendations also request the UN Secretary-General to invite the Chairs of the regional groups to constitute a group of a maximum of 25 experts and no more than five experts per regional group, for the duration of the second cycle of the Regular process, and invite individuals who have served in the Groups of Experts during the first cycle to provide advice to the Bureau and the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole until the Group of Experts for the second cycle is appointed.

The recommendations adopted by the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole and the summary of the first Global Integrated Marine Assessment will be transmitted by the Co-Chairs João Madureira (Portugal) and Fernanda Millicay (Argentina) to the President of the UNGA’s 70th Session. [Regular Process Website] [Summary of First Integrated Global Marine Assessment] [IISD Natural Resources Policy & Practice Story on Consideration of World Ocean Assessment]


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