Developments

World Oceans Day


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We celebrate World Oceans Day to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere. In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.

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This year, the President of the General Assembly launched ‘Play It Out’, a global campaign against plastic pollution. Decades of overuse and a surge in single-use plastics has led to a global environmental catastrophe. Today, 13,000,000 tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean every year, what among other damage, kill 100,000 marine animals annually. While most plastics are expected to remain intact for decades or centuries after use, those that do erode end up as micro-plastics, consumed by fish and other marine wildlife, quickly making their way into the global food chain.

The lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe, the oceans are also a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere. The concept of a ‘World Oceans Day’ was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a way to celebrate our world’s shared ocean and our personal connection to the sea, as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help protect it.

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The UN General Assembly recognized the important contribution of sustainable development and management of the resources and uses of the oceans and seas to the achievement of international development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, and designated 8 June as World Oceans Day.

World Oceans Day 2018 was celebrated with the theme “Preventing Plastic Pollution and Encouraging Solutions for a Healthy Ocean”. Based around SDG 14, last year’s event encouraged individuals to reduce the amount of plastic they used in order to reduce the plastic pollution that is causing tremendous harm to our marine resources.

World Oceans Day provides an opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve the ocean. The Government of Canada proposed setting a World Ocean Day during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The UN officially recognized 8 June as World Oceans Day in December 2008. The Day is coordinated by The Ocean Project, a not-for-profit international community foundation.

This year, the theme for World Oceans Day is “Gender and the Ocean”, an opportunity to explore the gender dimension of humankind’s relationship with the ocean. The 2019 edition of World Oceans Day will strive to build greater ocean and gender literacy and discover possible ways to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labour at sea, migration by sea and human trafficking, policy-making and management.

The importance of gender equality, in particular for the effective conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources is increasingly being recognized. However, there is very little data and research on these issues, and a concerted action towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is still needed in all ocean-related sectors to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5.

We celebrate World Oceans Day to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere. In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.

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The concept of a ‘World Oceans Day’ was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a way to celebrate our world’s shared ocean and our personal connection to the sea, as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help protect it.

To raise awareness about the role the United Nations and international law can play in the sustainable development and use of the oceans and their living and non-living resources, the UN Division for Ocean Affairs (link is external)and the Law of the Sea is actively coordinating different activities of he World Oceans Day.