The world's oceans provide goods, services and functions fundamental to the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Planning for their sustainable use requires a more detailed understanding of the marine environment than is available at present: an understanding that will only become possible through improved levels of monitoring and assessment. This publication is the result of inter-agency and national government collaboration. It represents part of UNEP's contribution to evaluating the feasibility of establishing a Global Marine Assessment, a process that would regularly report on the state of the marine environment. The report presents a snapshot of assessments and related scientific activities that were in progress at the end of 2002. It considers and recommends various ways in which a future Global Marine Assessment process could integrate these activities, and identifies the thematic and geographical gaps that need to be addressed.
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