5 June 2009 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the renowned French seafarer, Maud Fontenoy, as its Spokesperson for the Oceans, ahead of the first UN World Oceans Day on 8 June.
Ms. Fontenoy, 31, famed for single-handedly rowing across the Atlantic in 2003 and the Pacific two years later, is tasked with raising awareness of the need to protect the ocean environment against major threats such as climate change, pollution and unchecked urban development of the world’s coastal areas.
From 2006-2007, the navigator – who will serve as the new spokesperson for UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the World Ocean Network, a non-governmental organization – also sailed solo around the Southern hemisphere against the current.
“When you sail around the world, you realize that the planet is not that big and that most of it is ocean,” said Ms. Fontenoy at a press conference held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris earlier this week. “You also see how much damage is being done to the ocean and understand how urgent it has become to protect it.”
UNESCO-IOC was created in 1960 to promote international cooperation and coordinate programmes in research, sustainable development and the protection of the marine environment.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue