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What is World Oceans Day?

The United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day every year on 8 June. Many countries have celebrated this special day since 1992, following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as of 2009, 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day”.

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Every 8 June, we have an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably. Future generations will also depend on the ocean for their livelihoods!

Aquariums, science centers and research institutions, NGOs, communities and governments all around the world mobilize millions of people around events big and small. This is your portal to finding which events are happening around the world and in your neighborhood.

Together with the United Nations Family and our partners, let’s celebrate all that the ocean gives us every day: from the oxygen we breathe to the inspiration that moves our poets.

Our Ocean is Our Future.

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A Brief History of World Oceans Day

The international efforts at the origin of this global celebration of the ocean and its marine life.

By Judith Swan, formerly Executive Director of the Oceans Institute of Canada - Except from "History of World Oceans Day"

 

1992 Declaration of Oceans Day

Oceans Day was first declared as June 8th 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at the Global Forum, a parallel event at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) which provided an opportunity for non-government organizations (NGOs) and civil society to express their views on environmental issues.

The Declaration was inspired by an event organized on that day by the Oceans Institute of Canada and supported by the Canadian Government: “OCEANS DAY AT GLOBAL FORUM – THE BLUE PLANET”. The programme featured international experts, opinion leaders and those in a position to speak for the oceans’ contributions to sustaining the Blue Planet.

Continuing the momentum – 2008 UN Designation of World Oceans Day

In 2008, led by Canada, the General Assembly resolved that June 8th would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day”.

In the interim, observation of Oceans Day had broadened and deepened. The need and scope for this was reflected in the broad range of concerns expressed in 2008 by the UN Secretary-General, including implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, maritime space, international shipping, maritime security, marine science and technology, marine biological diversity, the marine environment and sustainable development, climate change and regional and international cooperation. The awareness and action spurred by observation of World Oceans Day would be crucial in all these areas.

Celebration of World Oceans Day at the UN General Assembly, during the UN Ocean Conference (8 June 2017)

2017 United Nations Ocean Conference and World Oceans Day – Our ocean, our future

The Declaration of World Oceans Day in 2008 catalysed action worldwide. Twenty-five years after the first Oceans Day took place in Rio de Janeiro at UNCED, a special event on June 8th marked its celebration during the United Nations Ocean Conference held from 5-9 June 2017. The Ocean Conference was convened to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)14 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

 

Read the full "Origins of World Oceans Day" article by Judith Swan on our Spotlight Section!

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