During the past almost 15 years of its existence, GOOS activities have primarily consisted of developing observing strategies, plans and governance structures. The most important challenge now facing GOOS is to transition from making plans to supporting the international cooperation required to maintain an operational observing system.
To enable the shift from strategy to operations will require first and foremost that member states support the endeavors of the GOOS Steering Committee through the IOC Assembly to form robust mechanisms to (1) elucidate national measurements contributing to the system and (2) increase the resources for coordination available to the GPO. In addition, GOOS will need to vastly increase its outreach and communications in order to reach out to, and build capacity for, a much wider range of potential contributors and users of the system than have heretofore been identified. The first steps towards achieving these goals have been announced in IOC circular letter 2199 and will be the on the agenda for GOOS member states at future meetings of GSC.