The ocean and adjacent coastal zones are regularly subjected to natural or man-made disasters, such as oil spills and tsunamis. In addition to these traumatic, but transient events, the world ocean is subject to continuing, incremental and cumulative change related to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, whose effects we are unable to predict in detail. Examples include sea level rise combined with more severe storms, ocean acidification, and the retreat in polar sea ice.
Because we do not know where and when the next disaster will strike, and because experience shows that we do not yet have all the observational background to know how the ocean might respond, our best strategy is to establish, in advance, a suitable world-wide observing network for the ocean.
In a time when there are many competing demands on public monies, it is vital that agencies and organisations with common interests speak with a common voice, to justify expenditures on programmes and to interpret their results for policy makers and for the general public.
POGO aims to facilitate the articulation of the common voice on behalf of Oceans United. In this way, it will be clear that the members of Oceans United can reach an authoritative consensus on important marine issues, and are prepared to undertake joint actions. It will also avoid fragmented inputs from the marine community to international and intergovernmental intitiatives.