Sunday, 17 January 2021

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“The Oceans are vast, but their capacity to withstand human damage is limited”- UN Secretary General on World Oceans Day 2015

09 June 2015 - Water is said to be the essence of life, and in that context, the ocean can be rightly accredited to be the epicentre of all life on this planet. The ocean is the most important regulator of the climate, it generates about half of all the oxygen in the atmosphere and it is home to almost 80 percent of all life on this planet. In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take responsibility to care for the ocean as it takes care of us.
Since 2009, people around the world have celebrated “World Oceans Day” on the 8th of June every year to remind overselves of the enormous importance of the world’s oceans. The concept was first proposed at the UN General Assembly in 1992, and was made official on 5 December 2008; since then people and organisations all around the world have taken up this cause of spreading the message for better management and conservation of our oceans.

The UN Secretary General in his annual address on World Oceans Day has remarked “This year, governments are seeking to adopt landmark agreements on climate change and ending poverty. Success will demand that they look at the essential role of the world’s oceans. The oceans are vast, but their capacity to withstand human damage is limited. In this potentially pivotal year, we must commit to using the gifts of the oceans peacefully, equitably and sustainably for generations to come.”

(For the full text, please visit



In Europe, the “Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO” (IOC UNESCO) is organizing with the “Ocean and Climate platform” a full day special event at Paris on the ocean and its interaction with climate change. This full day event contains multiple workshops and seminars regarding the conservation and better utilization of the oceans.

At the end of the day, recommendations and a call for action will be presented to the heads of state and eminent personalities present on this occasion, including His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco; high representatives of small island states, namely H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau, President of Palau; H.E. Danny Faure, Vice-President of the Seychelles; and H.E. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados; as well as H.E. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime affairs and Fisheries.
The messages will underline the ocean’s essential role for the survival of our planet and how crucial an “ambitious” climate agreement is to ensure ocean health, so that it may play its key role in the global climate system while providing potential solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Key recommendations from World Oceans Day will be transmitted to the negotiating parties, experts and observers attending the Bonn Climate Change Conference in June, in preparation of COP21.

(The live streaming for this event can be found at:

Meanwhile in New York, the winners of the annual World Oceans Day oceanic photo competition will be announced at the UN headquarters. A reception will be held at the UN-HQ between 6 and 8pm, where the winners of the photo contest will be formally announced.

The celebration of World Oceans Day coincides with the first day of the twenty-fifth meeting of the Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This year will also mark the twentieth anniversary of the adoption and opening for signature of the Fish Stocks Agreement.

At sunset the Empire State Building will be beautifully lit in the World Oceans Day colours of white, blue and purple, representing the different layers of the ocean.



(Picture by Jonas Thormar from Denmark which won the overall 2014 World Oceans Day Theme Photo Competition)

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