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WORLD OCEANS DAY: Boosting ocean literacy

California Sea Lion playing with a starfish in Baja California. PHOTO/Hannes Klostermann / Coral Reef Image Bank

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen.

  • The ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.

  • Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

By SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

newshub@eyewitness.africa

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the annual World Oceans Day Photo Competition, a new exhibit is making a splash now through 14 July at UN Headquarters to promote a better understanding of Earth’s invaluable bodies of water.

The goal is to improve “ocean literacy”, according to the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs (DOALOS), who organized the event.

This year, the United Nations will hosted a hybrid celebration of the annual event on 8 June 2023, hosted in-person at the UN Headquarters in New York and broadcasted live. It highlighted the 2023 theme of “Planet Ocean: tides are changing”.

Hosted by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations, in partnership with the non-profit organization Oceanic Global, and supported by Panerai, this year’s annual event shed light on how we can work together to ensure the ocean’s health and well-being.

Coupled with information on ocean health and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the event also aims at raising the profile of SDG 14 on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources – which has so far attracted the least investment of any of the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Marine biologists tend to a coral nursery at COMO Cocoa Island, Maldives. PHOTO/HENLEY SPIERS

So pay a visit to UN Headquarters in New York, or check out the Photography for Sustainable Oceans exhibit online here, which highlights the full range of challenges and solutions.

World Oceans Day reminds every one of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our Planet and a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere.

The purpose of the World Oceans 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.

The ocean covers over 70% of the planet. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth.

The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to most of earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. Not to mention, the ocean is 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.

“Planet Ocean: tides are changing”, is the theme for World Oceans Day 2023 – the UN is joining forces with decision-makers, indigenous leaders, scientists, private sector executives, civil society, celebrities, and youth activist to put the ocean first.

 

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