More from UN DESA

Volume 28 | No.6 | June 2024

World Oceans Day: A call to action to save our ocean

Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, produce over half of the world’s oxygen, regulate the climate and absorb nearly one-third of the carbon dioxide generated by human activities. Home to an incredible diversity of life, oceans provide food and livelihoods for billions of people. The health of the oceans is intrinsically linked to the health of our planet and its inhabitants.

Moreover, sustainable ocean-based economies create jobs and drive innovation in sectors such as eco-tourism, sustainable fisheries, and renewable energy, while ensuring the preservation of marine environments. 

Despite their significance, oceans are under severe threat from human activities. Climate change, pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction are deteriorating the health of the ocean. Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water is alarmingly off track with 50% of its targets showing regression. Goal 14 still remains critically underfunded.

World Oceans Day, celebrated annually on 8 June, serves as a reminder of the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the urgent need to address the various challenges it faces.

World Oceans Day was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008, and since then, it has been a day to raise awareness about the importance of oceans and mobilize global action for their preservation. This year, World Oceans Day 2024 will be celebrated with an event hosted by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs (DOALOS) in partnership with Oceanic Global, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday 7 June under the theme “Awaken New Depths”. 

World Oceans Day is not just a celebration but a call to action for individuals, communities, and nations to take concrete steps to protect our oceans. Urgent and transformative efforts are required to reverse these trends and ensure the protection of our oceans for future generations.

For more information: World Oceans Day 

Photo credit: Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash