15:07 | 04/06/2021 Print
On World Ocean Day, people everywhere can celebrate and take action for our shared ocean, which connects us all. Get together with your family, community, and /or your company, and join with millions of others around our blue planet to start creating a better future.
By working together, we can -- and will -- protect and restore our shared ocean. Join this growing global celebration in June and continue to grow the engagement year-round!
In 1992 in Rio de Janeiro the Canadian delegation attending the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development first proposed the idea of a day to honor the oceans; however, it was not until 1998 that the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO voiced support for an official international celebration. In 2002 two conservation organizations, the World Ocean Network and The Ocean Project, first celebrated the day along with their network of zoos, aquariums, and environmental groups around the world. After a petitioning drive guided in large part by those two organizations, the General Assembly of the United Nations formally designated World Oceans Day in 2008, as cited by Britanica.
The international observance of World Oceans Day includes the delivery of an annual message by the secretary-general of the United Nations highlighting the challenges faced by the oceans and marine ecosystems. Local events vary by region but often include seminars and discussions highlighting ocean-related science topics and stewardship, ocean-themed children’s activities and film festivals, planting and waste-collection drives, and the opening of ocean-themed exhibitions in zoos, aquariums, universities, and other institutions.
“Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.” —William Arthur Ward
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” —Jacques Cousteau
“The Ocean is a mighty harmonist.” —William Wordsworth
“No water, no life. No blue, no green.” —Sylvia Earle
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.” —John F. Kennedy
“For each of us, then, the challenge and opportunity is to cherish all life as the gift it is, envision it whole, seek to know it truly, and undertake—with our minds, hearts, and hands—to restore its abundance. It is said that where there’s life there’s hope, and so no place can inspire us with more hopefulness than that great, life-making sea—that singular, wondrous ocean covering the blue planet.” —Carl Safina
“One drop of water helps to swell the ocean none are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act.” —Hannah More
"To me, the sea is a continual miracle. The fishes that swim the rocks the motion of the waves the ships, with men in them. What strange miracles are there?" --Walt Whitman
"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch we are going back from whence we came" -- John F. Kennedy
"Being out there in the ocean, God’s creation, it’s like a gift he has given us to enjoy." --Bethany Hamilton
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As the ocean is the home to most of the earth’s biodiversity, it provides a main source of protein for more than billions of people around the world. The ocean is key to our economy, with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030. With the extinction of 90% of big fish populations and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are exploiting the ocean more than it can be replenished, India cites.
|Photo: Awareness Days|
So, to protect and preserve the ocean and all it sustains, we must create a new balance, rooted in a true understanding of the ocean and how humanity relates to it. And building a connection to the ocean that is inclusive, innovative, and useful for the ocean and the life inside 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 and the Law of the Sea(link is external) (DOALOS) is actively coordinating different activities of the World Oceans Day.
UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) coordinates in partnership with DOALOS the official United Nations World Oceans Day Portal(link is external), which is instrumental in building support for ocean awareness events on 8 June.
This year's prime focus will be on the life and livelihood that the ocean sustains. The theme for World Oceans Day 2021 is “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”.
|Photo: Marine Insight|
On Monday 8 June, the United Nations will launch its second-ever fully digital rendition of its annual World Oceans Day event in celebration of its 2021 theme, The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods. Produced in partnership with the non-profit organization Oceanic Global, presented by Blancpain and supported by La Mer, United Nations World Oceans Day 2021 (UNWOD) will be a day-long event featuring keynote speeches, panels, and presentations kicked off by the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, with leading voices including: Dr. Sylvia Earle, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jean-Michael Cousteau, Alessandra Ambrosio, Sam Waterston, Nathalie Kelley, Danni Washington, Dona Bertarelli, Céline Semaan, Amanda Cerny, and more. While traditionally an in-person event at the UN Headquarters, due to COVID-19, UN WOD became fully virtual and open-to-the-public for the first time in 2020. This year’s celebration will again be open to the world by live stream on the United Nations World Oceans Day website with the content reshared on the social channels @unworldoceansday.
The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, is home to most of the earth’s biodiversity, nourishes billions of people, and employs millions worldwide. Humanity’s interconnectivity to the ocean is core to our identities, cultures, and ways of life. Since its inception in 2008, UN World Oceans Day has celebrated the ocean and its importance to our planet and our lives. Yet, over the course of the pandemic, the world saw more clearly than ever, just how reliant on the ocean we collectively are. The 2021 United Nations World Oceans Day theme The Ocean: Live and Livelihoods shed light on the wonder of the ocean and how it is our life source, supporting humanity and every other organism on Earth. The event will convene scientists, explorers, experts, and coastal communities from around the world to deepen our understanding of the ocean, explore our connection to it, and discuss the need for building a new balance with the ocean that is inclusive, innovative, and informed by those who depend on it, as well as by lessons from the past.
The annual United Nations World Oceans Day event marks the kick-off “World Ocean Week” (June 1- June 14th) during which subsequent events hosted by members of the Friends of UN World Oceans Day platform and other ocean enthusiasts from around the world will continue the conversation surrounding the official theme of UN World Oceans Day 2021- The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods.
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