United Nations Secretariat

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The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea performs the functions of the Secretary-General under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and related agreements, as well as relevant General Assembly resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea, sustainable fisheries as well as other relevant resolutions.

The Division monitors developments in relevant areas in order to report annually to the General Assembly on matters relating to the law of the sea and ocean affairs. The Division also provides information, analysis and advice to States, international organizations and other stakeholders on the uniform and consistent application of the provisions of the Convention and related agreements. 

The Division further engages in activities aimed at enhancing the peaceful use and sustainable development of oceans and seas, including the conservation and sustainable use of both marine living resources and marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, and the implementation of the oceans-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It carries out numerous capacity-building activities, including fellowships.

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”.  The official designation of World Oceans Day by the United Nations is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits derived from the oceans and the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans. The day is intended to provide an opportunity for people to reflect and emphasize the benefits that the oceans can provide and our individual and collective duty to interact with oceans in a sustainable manner so as to meet current needs without compromising those of future generations.



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