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World Oceans Day was officially declared by the United Nations as June 8th each year beginning in 2009.[1] The concept was proposed on 8 June, 1992 by Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it had been unofficially celebrated every year since then as World Ocean Day.[2]

On the first World Oceans Day the Secretary-General of the United Nations gave the following message:

The first observance of World Oceans Day allows us to highlight the many ways in which oceans contribute to society. It is also an opportunity to recognize the considerable challenges we face in maintaining their capacity to regulate the global climate, supply essential ecosystem services and provide sustainable livelihoods and safe recreation.

Indeed, human activities are taking a terrible toll on the world’s oceans and seas. Vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as corals, and important fisheries are being damaged by over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing practices, invasive alien species and marine pollution, especially from land-based sources. Increased sea temperatures, sea-level rise and ocean acidification caused by climate change pose a further threat to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies.

Oceans are also affected by criminal activity. Piracy and armed robbery against ships threaten the lives of seafarers and the safety of international shipping, which transports 90 per cent of the world’s goods. Smuggling of illegal drugs and the trafficking of persons by sea are further examples of how criminal activities threaten lives and the peace and security of the oceans.

Several international instruments drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations address these numerous challenges. At their centre lies the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It provides the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, and is the basis for international cooperation at all levels. In addition to aiming at universal participation, the world must do more to implement this Convention and to uphold the rule of law on the seas and oceans.

The theme of World Oceans Day, “Our oceans, our responsibility”, emphasizes our individual and collective duty to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources. Safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development. [3]

World Ocean Day is an opportunity every year to honor the world's ocean, celebrate the products the ocean provides, such as seafood, as well as marine life itself for aquariums, pets, and also a time to appreciate its own intrinsic value. The ocean also provides sea-lanes for international trade. Global pollution and over-consumption of fish have resulted in drastically dwindling population of the majority of species.

The Ocean Project, working in partnership with the World Ocean Network, has been promoting WOD since 2003 with its network of over 900 organizations and others throughout the world. These groups have been working to build greater awareness of the crucial role of the ocean in our lives and the important ways people can help. World Ocean Day provides an opportunity to get directly involved in protecting our future, through a new mindset and personal and community action and involvement – beach cleanups, educational programs, art contests, film festivals, sustainable seafood events, and other planned activities help to raise consciousness of how our lives depend on the ocean.

The official United Nations 2009 World Oceans Day theme is: "Our Oceans, Our Responsibility".
The 2009 World Oceans Day theme promoted by the broad network of NGOs is: “one ocean, one climate, one future”.


Wanted pages and external links


References

  1. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, 63/111. Oceans and the law of the sea, paragraph 171: "Resolves that, as from 2009, the United Nations will designate 8 June as World Oceans Day". 5 December 2008
  2. About World Oceans Day. The Ocean Project
  3. http://www.un.org/depts/los/reference_files/oceansday2009.pdf Message of the Secretary-General

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