8 June, New York – To highlight growing concern for the health of the world’s marine ecosystems, the UN will mark World Oceans Day on 8 June with a range of events that both celebrate the benefits that oceans provide, as well as amplify the need to take greater action to protect this global resource.

Recognizing the importance of the world’s oceans, seas and coastal areas to the world’s seven billion people, the 193 UN Member States included the need to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources as a distinct goal—Goal 14—in the Sustainable Development Goals that anchor the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

According to UN Environment, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once — and then thrown away. Today, about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year are produced, nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. If current trends continue, the oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050

Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the planet’s water. Oceans contribute to poverty eradication by creating sustainable livelihoods and decent work. More than three billion people depend on marine and coastal resources for their livelihoods. In addition, oceans are crucial for global food security and are the primary regulator of the global climate.

World Oceans Day 2018 carries the theme “Clean Our Ocean,” and will be celebrated by the UN in New York and at 40 events around the world (see https://www.unworldoceansday.org/events for listings).

Events in New York to mark World Oceans Day 2018 on 8 June:

Launch of the Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business 
8:30-10:00 a.m., Delegates Dining Room, United Nations Headquarters, New York
The UN Global Compact will launch the newly formed Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business and the meeting will focus on the global scope and ambitions of the Action Platform and help define leadership in responsible business practices in the ocean.
Panel discussion, “Clean Our Ocean—Innovation and Youth”
3-6 p.m., Conference Room 4, UN Headquarters, New York

The discussion will highlight the important roles of youth and innovation in addressing solutions towards cleaning the oceans, including speakers from projects that are involving youth in promoting marine biodiversity. The event will feature closing remarks from Cody Simpson, United Nations Development Programme Ocean Advocate, and Peter Thomson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean.Empire State Building to be lit for Oceans Day
The Empire State Building will once again be lit on the evening of 8 June for World Oceans Day in blue.

2018 Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition
DOALOS, together with the World Ocean Network, DivePhotoGuide,  World Festival of Underwater Pictures and the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre, is hosting a free amateur photo competition in 2018, as in years past, seeking to convey the beauty and importance of the ocean and humankind’s relation to it through five thematic categories: underwater seascapes, underwater life, above-water seascapes, positive human interaction and a youth category. Winners will be recognized at the UN reception on 8 June.

East River shoreline clean-up
10 a.m.-12 p.m., East River Promenade at E. 6th Street
A group of UN staff members will be teaming up with the Lower East Side Ecology Center to clean up trash and plastic pollution along the portion of the East River at 6th Street in Manhattan. They will clear the coast to beat plastic pollution as the capstone of the Be the Change weeklong sustainability challenge encouraging staff to better live the SDGs. All are welcome. More information:  bit.ly/UNbethechange2018

More information
World Oceans Day 2018: https://www.unworldoceansday.org/
Photo contest: https://www.unworldoceansday.org/spotlight-article/fifth-annual-world-oceans-day-photo-competition

Media contacts
UN Department of Public Information
Dan Shepard, T: +1 (212) 963-9495 | E: shepard@un.org
Ariel Alexovich, T: +1 (917) 367-6512 | E: alexovich@un.org

For more information on the Sustainable Development Goals, please visit: www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment or follow us on Twitter at @GlobalGoalsUN and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/globalgoalsUN.