Oceans Day Celebrates 30th Anniversary of UNCLOS

8 June 2012: World Oceans Day, celebrated on 8 June 2012, featured a panel discussion to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the opening for signature of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Day aims to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with oceans.

In a message delivered to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored that UNCLOS is a “constitution for the oceans.” He noted that the protection of oceans and coasts is among the key goals of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). He called for enhanced action on oceans protection, stressing that they are threatened by pollution, fisheries depletion, climate change impacts and the deterioration of the marine environment. He stressed the need for Rio+20 to mobilize the UN, governments and other partners to improve the management and conservation of oceans by addressing these threats.

Also to mark the Day, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), underscored that the oceans "are the lungs of the planet," absorb over one quarter of the carbon dioxide released by anthropogenic sources, support millions of jobs, and are the source of protein for a billion people. She underscored the importance of improving our knowledge of the oceans to improve their management, and of increasing the marine areas under protection. [UNESCO Director General's Message] [World Oceans Day Website] [UN Secretary-General's Message] [UNEP Press Release] [UN Press Release]