The ten-year Strategic Plan prepared by the IWGOA is comprehensive in describing critical research and monitoring goals for the near- and long-term for seven different, but often closely interrelated, Themes. The Themes of the Strategic Plan include the five Program Elements required by the FOARAM Act and two additional Themes that are critical for the success of an overall research and monitoring program in ocean acidification. Each Theme in the Strategic Plan presents goals and objectives with a description of the rationales for their inclusion in the Plan. The committee’s review of the goals and objectives for each Theme is presented in detail in Chapter 3. At this juncture, the committee emphasizes two overarching points related to goals and objectives that apply to all Themes and are of key importance for the Strategic Plan.

First, the goals and objectives could be strengthened if they included a more integrated and comprehensive treatment across themes. This is particularly true in the context of how the natural and social sciences and monitoring components of the overall program will inform important societal questions such as food security and conservation. As discussed further in the context of the individual Themes, advancing the social sciences (e.g., research on socioeconomic impacts, adaptation, and conservation) cannot be placed on hold while the natural sciences and monitoring progress. Rather, socioeconomic goals and objectives need to be an integral part of the focus at the same time and coordinated with the natural science and monitoring efforts. This concern can be addressed by including in the appropriate Theme sections how the goals of each Theme relate to the social sciences (e.g., socioeconomic impacts, adaptation, and conservation strategies).

Second, the committee identified another common shortcoming in the Plan’s descriptions of goals: the absence of clear priorities (or a strategy for establishing priorities) for undertaking the varied efforts needed to implement the goals and attain the Plan’s objectives. This concern is discussed in the following section.

RECOMMENDATION: The Strategic Plan should describe a process that can ensure integration across the themes, coordination among the agencies, and development of priorities.


A strategic plan ideally defines the process by which priorities will be set. The long list of research and monitoring goals in the Strategic Plan is divided into short-term and long-term goals for each Theme, but does not prioritize the goals or provide criteria for doing this. Examples of

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement