"I urge governments, international organizations, private companies, communities and individuals to promote gender equality and the rights of women and girls as a crucial contribution to meeting ocean challenges.”"
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Why Celebrate World Oceans Day?
We 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. The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and 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. In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.
Focus for 2019: Gender and the Ocean
We have an opportunity to explore the gender dimension of humankind’s relationship with the ocean.
This year, we strive to build greater ocean and gender literacy, and to discover possible ways to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labour at sea, migration by sea and human trafficking, as well as policy-making and management.
The importance of gender equality — in particular for the effective conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources — is increasingly recognized. However, there is very little data and research on these issues, and a concerted action towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is still needed in all ocean-related sectors to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5.
The UN is hosting a conference in celebration of World Oceans Day. Storytellers and speakers from around the world will join to share perspectives to build greater ocean and gender literacy and discover possible ways to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities.
The Battle Against Plastic Pollution
This year, the President of the General Assembly launched 'Play It Out', a global campaign against plastic pollution. Decades of overuse and a surge in single-use plastics has led to a global environmental catastrophe. Today, 13,000,000 tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean every year, what among other damage, kill 100,000 marine animals annually. While most plastics are expected to remain intact for decades or centuries after use, those that do erode end up as micro-plastics, consumed by fish and other marine wildlife, quickly making their way into the global food chain.
From plastic straws to plastic bags, we all are at the frontline of efforts to #BeatPlasticPollution.
Coordinated By the UN Office of Legal Affairs, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, the 2019 finalists of the UN WOD Photo Competition will be announced at the UN celebration on Friday, June 7th. More information on the competition, previous finalists and this year's panel of judges is available on the World Oceans Day Photo Competition website.
The Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) provides a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to create a new foundation across the science-policy interface to strengthen the management of our oceans and coasts for the benefit of humanity.
Oceans and the Sustainable Development Goals
The Declaration of World Oceans Day in 2008 catalysed action worldwide. Twenty-five years after the first Oceans Day took place in Rio de Janeiro at UNCED, a special event on June 8th marked its celebration during the United Nations Ocean Conference held from 5-9 June 2017. The Ocean Conference was convened to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Why Do We Mark International Days?
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. More information available here.