UN World Oceans Day 2012

The event celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, often considered the "Constitution for the Oceans".
2012 Theme

UNCLOS @ 30

The United Nations celebrated World Oceans Day and the thirtieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with a message by the Secretary-General and the release of the video “UNCLOS at 30”. This was followed by an expert panel on the theme “UNCLOS at 30”, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 66/231, sponsored by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs.

UNCLOS at 30

The panel was moderated by H.E. Mr. Raymond Wolfe, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations. Opening Remarks were made by Ms. Patricia O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, and a statement was delivered by Dr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation of Japan, on “The importance of human capacity in the implementation of the Convention”. Panellists included H.E. Mr. Shunji Yanai, President of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; H.E. Mr. Nii Odunton, Secretary-General fo the International Seabed Authority; and Mr. Galo Carrera, Chairperson of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Schedule

Observance at United Nations Headquarters

Message by the Secretary-General

–United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to boost their efforts to protect the world’s oceans, which are threatened by overfishing, toxic waste, and climate change. “We must do more for our world’s oceans, which are threatened by pollution, depleted fishery resources, the impacts of climate change and the deterioration of the marine environment,” Mr. Ban said in his message marking World Oceans Day, which also coincides with the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – the so-called ‘constitution of the oceans.’ Given the important role played by oceans for the planet’s food security, and the health and survival of all life, as well energy needs, the General Assembly decided that, from 2009, 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as ‘World Oceans Day’ to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans. In his message, Mr. Ban stressed that the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), in Brazil later this month, will provide a once in a generation opportunity for Member States to act and have a significant impact on this issue. “The protection of the world’s oceans and coasts is among the key goals of [Rio+20],” he said. “Rio+20 must mobilize the United Nations, governments and other partners to improve the management and conservation of oceans through initiatives to curb overfishing, improve protection of the marine environment and reduce ocean pollution and the impact of climate change.” The Secretary-General also called on governments that have not done so to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which governs all aspects of ocean space, from delimitation of maritime boundaries, environmental regulations, scientific research, commerce and the settlement of international disputes involving marine issues. The Convention was first opened for signature in 1982 and entered into force in 1994; there are 162 parties to it – 161 States and the European Union. “We can learn from three decades of experience with the Convention, which should continue to be our guide in establishing the rule of law on the world’s oceans and seas,” Mr. Ban told a group of experts at a roundtable panel discussion commemorating the Convention, at UN Headquarters in New York. The convention is “an important contribution to the maintenance of peace, justice and progress for all peoples of the world,” Mr. Ban underlined. “Let us make 2012 another milestone year for the world’s oceans, so that we can set sail toward the future we want.”

Video on “UNCLOS at 30”

http://webtv.un.org/watch/player/1671506030001

Press Conference to be organized by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs

Expert Panel Discussion on the theme "UNCLOS at 30" to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 66/231, sponsored by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, followed by a question-and-answer period

Welcoming remarks by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Moderator

H.E. Mr. Raymond Wolfe

H.E. Mr. Raymond Wolfe

Opening Remarks

Ms. Patricia O’Brien

Ms. Patricia O’Brien

Statement

The importance of human capacity in the implementation of the Convention

Dr. Yohei Sasakawa

Chairman of the Nippon Foundation of Japan

Panellists

H.E. Mr. Shunji Yanai

President, International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea

H.E. Mr. Nii Odunton

Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority

Mr. Galo Carrera

Chairperson, Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

Closing Remarks

H.E. Ms. Isabelle F. Picco

Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Principality of Monaco to the United Nations

Expert Panel Discussion on the theme "UNCLOS at 30" to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 66/231, sponsored by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, followed by a question-and-answer period

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building will be lit on the evening of 8 June for World Oceans Day in white, blue and purple, representing the different layers of the ocean. White at the top represents the shallowest, sunlit waters and also the polar ice cap. The blue represents the slightly deeper ocean waters, and the purple even deeper waters in the ocean. The unlit portions, or black, represent those parts of the ocean where the sun does not reach. The overall representation covers all aspects, and all parts, of the ocean, not just the surface that we can see.