Our Oceans: Greening Our Future
The event, under the theme “Our Oceans: Greening Our Future”, was marked with an expert panel discussion held at United Nations Headquarters. Introductory remarks were delivered by Ms. Patricia O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel. The panel discussion was moderated by Professor David Freestone, George Washington University. Mrs. Maria Teresa Mesquita Pessôa, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, spoke about “Oceans and the environment”. Ms. Chandrika Sharma, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), addressed “Oceans and the social impact”. Dr. Rashid Sumaila, University of British Columbia, Canada, talked about “Economic aspects of the oceans”. Mr William Mott, The Ocean Project, shared his perspective on “Oceans and youth”.
The world’s oceans—which account for about 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface—are facing diverse challenges ranging from depleted fishery resources to the impacts of climate change, the deterioration of the marine environment, to issues of maritime safety and security, labour conditions for seafarers and the increasingly important issue of migration by sea.
Looking ahead to next year’s Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message for World Oceans Day 2011, said “All activities and policies related to oceans and the marine environment need to acknowledge and incorporate the three pillars of sustainable development: environmental, social and economic. Only then can we achieve the development objectives set by the international community.”