The oceans provide a truly millennial challenge for both the development and management of planet earth by humankind. Awareness of the nature and scale of this challenge, the opportunities and the limitations, has been developing over the past three decades. In particular, new approaches to the development of the law of the sea, the division of the oceans among states, and new thinking on institutions will be needed in the transition to the new millennium. Understanding of the newness of the challenges has to be underpinned by understanding of the uses of the sea in terms of major sectors, and recognition of the importance of the many regional worlds of perception, understanding and action which link the diverse ocean environment to the diversity of human culture.
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