World Oceans Day Celebrated Globally

World Oceans Day8 June 2014: The UN commemorated World Oceans Day on 8 June 2014, under the theme, 'Together we have the power to protect the ocean!' The Day also lent special attention to the designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and fell on the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

UN agencies and entities used the Day to highlight the role of the oceans in climate regulation and coastal protection, food security and nutrition and global trade as well as a potential energy source. They also underscored the many threats facing oceans including: climate change, ocean acidification and coral bleaching; destructive fishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and overexploitation; and habitat destruction and marine pollution.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for reflection “on the multiple benefits of the oceans,” and commitments “to keep them healthy and productive and to use their resources peacefully, equitably and sustainably for the benefit of current and future generations.” President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) John Ashe called on Member States “to continue to take action to protect our oceans by reducing pollution and protecting marine life for present and future generations,” including in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director General, Irina Bokova, stressed that we must know more about the ocean and “draw on stronger science to craft sustainable, ecosystem-based policies for the ocean and coasts.” Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), highlighted the CBD's collaborative, science-based work on ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs), as well as its research on understanding major threats to oceans, including on marine debris and underwater noise.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) recommended ensuring ocean integrity to build the blue economy, noting that over 40% of countries have larger Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) than land areas and that oceans provide over US$1 trillion annually in market goods and services as well as additional value in non-market amenities. The UN Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with Arrowhead Films and the Discovery Channel in Asia, broadcast a documentary titled ‘Saving our Tuna,' which examines the role of technology in catching tuna, as well as the potential of such technology to save the tuna industry and ensure the livelihoods of Pacific island tuna fishers.

In addition to these activities marking the Day, UN Headquarters will recognize the winners of the Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition on 9 June. Events will also take place on 10 June at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, including a presentation of shared commitments by UNESCO-IOC and civil society and the launch of the Ocean and Climate Platform. [World Oceans Day Website] [Ban Statement] [Ashe Statement] [Bokova Statement] [UN Press Release] [GEF Press Release] [UNDP Press Release] [Dias Statement] [UN Press Release on Launch of Ocean and Climate Platform] [WMO Press Release] [CMS News]