Sixteen years after it was first proposed, the United Nations (U.N.) has notified Oceana of its official resolution to designate June 8 as World Oceans Day. Both the U.N. and Oceana are preparing events to honor the inaugural celebration of the planet’s oceans.
The U.N. decision comes after thousands of supporters of Oceana and other conservation organizations, aquariums, universities, and agencies, signed petitions asking the international body to establish an official day for the oceans. World Oceans Day was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
“We applaud the United Nations for formally establishing a day for the other 71 percent of the planet,” said Andrew Sharpless, C.E.O. of Oceana. “Making World Oceans Day official will help us and other ocean groups to engage more people and to increase public support for efforts to reverse the declining health of marine ecosystems.”
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), three quarters of the world’s fisheries are now overexploited, fully exploited, significantly depleted or recovering from overexploitation. “The good news,” added Sharpless, “is that restoring abundant oceans is the most solvable global ecological challenge that we face today.”
Since World Oceans Day was first proposed in 1992, hundreds of museums, conservation organizations, and agencies have celebrated June 8 as a holiday for the oceans and worked for its official U.N. recognition. Oceana, along with other groups including the Ocean Project, delivered tens of thousands of petition signatures and e-mails to the U.N. asking them to make June 8 an official World Oceans Day celebration.
The U.N. notified Oceana that it will organize events to be held on World Oceans Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Meanwhile, Oceana is planning its largest-ever celebration in 2009 in honor of the now official World Oceans Day – including a special contest for its 300,000+ online supporters, a new shark conservation Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring Mad Men star January Jones, red carpet events on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts (in New York with lifestyle brand Nautica and Vanity Fair magazine, and a separate event in Los Angeles), and special World Oceans Day promotions in major department stores nationwide.
Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world’s oceans. Its team of marine scientists, economists, lawyers, and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals, and other sea life. Global in scope and dedicated to conservation, Oceana has campaigners based in North America, Europe, and South America. For members of the media interested in images of the ocean, Oceana has a collection of more than 50,000 compelling images and photo stories that visually engage and help audiences understand the threats and challenges facing our world’s oceans.
Contact Juliana Stein to learn more about Oceana’s activities to celebrate World Oceans Day 2009 at [email protected].