Despite the central role oceans play in the economic, environmental and social affairs of the planet's 6.7 billion inhabitants, significant gaps exist in our understanding and management of the complex processes at work. In addition, the vastness of the world's oceans have for far too long been perceived as impervious and indestructible to human impact.
To deal with this situation, improved monitoring and observation practices, regular assessments to provide a deeper understanding of the status and trends of environmental changes, and the know-how and ability to prevent, mitigate and adapt to these changes are urgently required. The UN Assembly asked UNEP and IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) to serve as the lead agencies in the start-up phase that came to be known as the Assessment of Assessments. This report is the result of their research.