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Workshops, Group of Experts Contributing to World Ocean Assessment

November 2012: Throughout 2012, a series of workshops have been held to contribute a regional perspective and content for the first World Ocean Assessment (WOA). 

At the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg, South Africa, States agreed to “establish by 2004 a regular process under the UN for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects, both current and foreseeable, building on existing regional assessments” (the “Regular Process”). This process is now referred to as the WOA.

Workshop objectives have included reviewing and evaluating all relevant assessments, and outlining linkages between driving factors and the state of the marine environment. The workshops also promoted capacity building for conducting marine assessments and for using knowledge acquired through assessments. To date, workshops have been held in locations such as Australia, Chile, China, Belgium and Mozambique. Similar WOA workshops will also be held in other regions.

In addition, the UN established a Group of Experts to provide scientific oversight for the first WOA report. The Group of Experts has developed a comprehensive report outline, which includes more than fifty subjects grouped within four main themes: marine environment and understanding of the ocean's role in the global integrated Earth system; food security and food safety; human activities that influence the ocean or are influenced by the ocean; and marine biological diversity. A scientific and technical summary will integrate content to show linkages among the chapters in interdisciplinary subjects such as human impacts, ecosystem services and habitats.

The projected completion date for the first WOA report is 2014. Subsequent WOA reports will be generated on a five-year cycle.  [A Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-economic Aspects (Regular Process)] [WOA Timeline] [WOA Outline]