4. Assessment parameters
Based on the approach adopted by the UN World Ocean Assessment, the present SOME-EE process will use the following parameters: pressures, socioeconomic benefits, habitats and the species they support, and ecosystem processes (and services) including physical and chemical processes.
Most Parameters used in the SOME-EE process are the same between all assessments, regardless of country or region, because they are common to all marine environments. For example, the habitats that most assessments will need to consider include estuaries, bays, beaches, intertidal flats, etc. Many regions already have programs in place to monitor specific environmental indicators (see review by Johnson et al., 2013) that can provide input to the assessment and identify parameters for scoring. Other Parameters can be added if they are viewed as being of particular importance to a given region. Using a standard set of parameters that have been widely considered in other regions enables direct comparisons to be made and eliminates any bias (or the appearance of bias) in the choice of parameters; for example, where a list of parameters might appear heavily slanted towards those that are at risk in a particular region from a particular pressure.
Parameters may be chosen from any level of the natural biophysical and taxonomic hierarchy of ecosystems and biodiversity of the region under consideration. However, participants should recognise that SOME reporting is of necessity a broad overview process. Each Parameter will be the focus of an assessment, and so each Parameter should be relevant to (or an important part of) the region as a whole.