UN World Oceans Day 2009

The inaugural United Nations World Oceans Day event recognized that our oceans are our responsibility.
2009 Theme

Our Oceans, Our Responsibilities

Our Oceans, Our Responsibility

The inaugural celebration of United Nations World Oceans Day, on 8 June 2009, featured a message by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and an expert panel discussion on the theme “Our Oceans, Our Responsibility”. Following the panel, a screening of the documentary on ocean acidification, entitled “A Sea Change”, was staged in cooperation with the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Film Society. Alongside the events, an exhibit of children’s artwork entitled “Children and the sea”, organized in cooperation with the International Ocean Institute and UN-Habitat, was displayed at United Nations Headquarters. The Day concluded with a reception hosted by the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations.

Experts discuss the ocean

The subsequent expert panel discussion took place in the General Assembly Hall and was opened by Ms. Patricia O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel. Under the moderation of Professor David Freestone, Lobingier Visiting Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor, United Nations University, it featured Dr. Lorna Inniss, Deputy Director, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Government of Barbados; Dr. Magnus Ngoile, Policy and Governance Coordinator, Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems (ASCLME) Project; Ambassador Hasjim Djalal, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, and Advisor to the Indonesian Navy’s Chief of Staff, Indonesian Naval Forces; Dr. Harlan Cohen, Advisor, Ocean Governance, Global Marine Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and Dr. John Stegeman, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Director, Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health.

Speakers

Dr. Lorna Inniss

Dr. Magnus Ngoile

Ambassador Hasjim Djalal

Dr. Harlan Cohen

Dr. John Stegeman

Schedule

Message of the Secretary-General

The first observance of World Oceans Day allows us to highlight the many ways in which oceans contribute to society. It is also an opportunity to recognize the considerable challenges we face in maintaining their capacity to regulate the global climate, supply essential ecosystem services and provide sustainable livelihoods and safe recreation. Indeed, human activities are taking a terrible toll on the world’s oceans and seas. Vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as corals, and important fisheries are being damaged by over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing practices, invasive alien species and marine pollution, especially from land-based sources. Increased sea temperatures, sea-level rise and ocean acidification caused by climate change pose a further threat to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies. Oceans are also affected by criminal activity. Piracy and armed robbery against ships threaten the lives of seafarers and the safety of international shipping, which transports 90 per cent of the world’s goods. Smuggling of illegal drugs and the trafficking of persons by sea are further examples of how criminal activities threaten lives and the peace and security of the oceans. Several international instruments drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations address these numerous challenges. At their centre lies the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It provides the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, and is the basis for international cooperation at all levels. In addition to aiming at universal participation, the world must do more to implement this Convention and to uphold the rule of law on the seas and oceans. The theme of World Oceans Day, “Our oceans, our responsibility”, emphasizes our individual and collective duty to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources. Safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development.

Press Conference by Ambassador Hasjim Djalal, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, and Advisor to the Indonesian Navy's Chief of Staff, Indonesian Naval Forces, and Professor David Freestone, Lobingier Visiting Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor, United Nations University

Expert Panel Discussion on the theme "Our oceans, our responsibility" to mark the first observance by the United Nations of World Oceans Day, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 63/111, sponsored by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, followed by a question-and-answer period

Ms. Patricia O’Brien

Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, The Legal Counsel

Professor David Freestone

Lobingier Visiting Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor, United Nations University

Dr. Lorna Inniss

Deputy Director, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Government of Barbados

Dr. Magnus Ngoile

Policy and Governance Coordinator, Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems (ASCLME) Project

Ambassador Hasjim Djalal

Senior Advisor to the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, and Advisor to the Indonesian Navy's Chief of Staff, Indonesian Naval Forces

Dr. Harlan Cohen

Advisor, Ocean Governance, Global Marine Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Dr. John Stegeman

Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Director, Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health

“A Sea Change”, a documentary screening on ocean acidification followed by a question-and-answer period co-sponsored by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, and the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Film Society (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) (Trusteeship Council Chamber)

Other Observances at United Nations Headquarters

Display organized by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, and relevant international organizations relating to their activities

Exhibit organized by the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Photographic Society

Delegate’s Dining Room (Luncheon menu for the day to include a sustainable seafood option)

Observance outside United Nations Headquarters

A number of Governments, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations will celebrate World Oceans Day by organizing events

Empire State Building in New York City (Lighting to mark first observance of World Oceans Day)