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Montevideo, June 23rd 2024 - 22:09 UTC

 

 

We need to “Awaken new Depths”: UN invitation on World Oceans Day celebrations

Monday, June 10th 2024 - 07:12 UTC
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SAERI poster inviting to celebrates Oceans Day SAERI poster inviting to celebrates Oceans Day

On Saturday the South Atlantic Environment Research Institute, SAERI, invited the Falkland Islands community to celebrate Oceans Day, and create awareness of how much the South Atlantic islands depend on them. According to Resolution 63/111 of December 2008, the UN General Assembly designated 8 June as World Oceans Day. And “Awaken New Depths” is the theme for World Oceans 2024.

The concept of a 'World Oceans Day' was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a way to celebrate our world’s shared ocean and our personal connection to the sea, as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help protect it.

To raise awareness about the role the United Nations and international law can play in the sustainable development and use of the oceans and their living and non-living resources, the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea is actively coordinating different activities during this year,

UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, IOC, sponsors the World Ocean Network, which has since 2002 been instrumental in building support for ocean awareness events on 8 June.

Along with UNESCO, other UN agencies work to protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts: the UN Environmental Program, (UNEP), as the specialized agency oversees environmental issues; FAO, strengthens global governance and the managerial and technical capacities of members and leads consensus-building towards improved conservation and utilization of aquatic resources; UNDP, manages biodiversity and human development projects; and the International Maritime Organization, is responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.

Oceans cover over 70% of the planet. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth. Oceans produce at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to most of earth’s biodiversity, and the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. Not to mention, oceans are key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.

Even though all its benefits, the ocean is now in need of support.

With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. We need to work together to create a new balance with the ocean that no longer depletes its bounty but instead restores its vibrancy and brings it new life.

With “Awaken New Depths,” UN is joining forces with decision-makers, indigenous leaders, scientists, private sector executives, civil society, celebrities, and youth activists to showcase how our relationship with the ocean needs to urgently change since our efforts to date have only skimmed the surface. To motivate widespread momentum for the oceans, we need to awaken new depths.

Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future. However, at the current time, there is a continuous deterioration of coastal waters owing to pollution and ocean acidification, which has an adversarial effect on the functioning of ecosystems and biodiversity. This is also negatively impacting small scale fisheries.

Marine protected areas need to be effectively managed and well-resourced and regulations need to be put in place to reduce overfishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.

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