2017 Theme: “Our oceans, our future”

The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the very foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients, regulate climate, and are important economically for countries that rely on tourism, fishing and other marine resources for income, and serve as the backbone of international trade.

Unfortunately, human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.

Peace and security are also critical to the full enjoyment of the benefits that can be derived from the oceans and for their sustainable development. As has been remarked by the Secretary-General: “There will be no development without security and no security without development”.

This year’s theme for the Day is “Our oceans, our future” and is connected with the celebration of the Ocean Conference to be held from 5 to 9 June in United Nations headquarters in New York.

Why celebrate World Oceans Day?

  • To remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.
  • To inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean.
  • To develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean.
  • To mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world's oceans. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.
  • To celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.

As in previous years since 2014, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea will recognize on 8 June the winners of the Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition in an event at the United Nations Headquarters.