World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations as June 8th each year beginning in 2009. The concept was proposed on 8 June 1992 by Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it had been unofficially celebrated every year since then as World Ocean Day.
On the first World Oceans Day the Secretary-General of the United Nations gave the following message: "The first observance of World Oceans Day allows us to highlight the many ways in which oceans contribute to society. It is also an opportunity to recognize the considerable challenges we face in maintaining their capacity to regulate the global climate, supply essential ecosystem services and provide sustainable livelihood and safe recreation.
Indeed, human activities are taking a terrible toll on the world’s oceans and seas. Vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as corals, and important fisheries are being damaged by over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing practices, invasive alien species and marine pollution, especially from land-based sources. Increased sea temperatures, sea-level rise and ocean acidification caused by climate change pose a further threat to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies.
Oceans are also affected by criminal activity. Piracy and armed robbery against ships threaten the lives of seafarers and the safety of international shipping, which transports 90 per cent of the world’s goods. Smuggling of illegal drugs and the trafficking of persons by sea are further examples of how criminal activities threaten lives and the peace and security of the oceans.
Several international instruments drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations address these numerous challenges. At their center lies the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It provides the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, and is the basis for international cooperation at all levels. In addition to aiming at universal participation, the world must do more to implement this Convention and to uphold the rule of law on the seas and oceans.
The theme of World Oceans Day, “Our oceans, our responsibility”, emphasizes our individual and collective duty to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources. Safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development."
World Ocean Day is an opportunity every year to honor the world's Oceans, as well as marine life itself. It is also a time to appreciate the intrinsic value, and to imagine what sort of world future generations would live in, if we failed to secure the health of the World's Oceans in ours.
We depend on the Oceans for food to eat and air to breath; our two most important basic necessities - and we depend on our freshwater for water to drink, and to feed healthy Oceans. Our dependence in the health of the world's Oceans is thus complete: "we cant survive without them!"
The Ocean Project (of which WODC Is a member) has been working in partnership with the World Ocean Network (WODC membership pending), and has been promoting WOD since 2003 with its network of over 900 organizations and others throughout the world. These groups have been working to build greater awareness of the crucial role of the ocean in our lives and the important ways people can help ensure the health and safety of our common Oceans.
World Ocean Day provides an opportunity to get directly involved in protecting our future, through a new mindset and personal and community action and involvement – beach cleanups, educational programs, art contests, film festivals, sustainable seafood events, and other planned activities help to raise consciousness of how our lives depend on the ocean.
The official United Nations 2009 World Oceans Day theme was: "Our Oceans, Our Responsibility".
The 2009 World Oceans Day theme promoted by the broad network of NGOs is: “One Ocean, One Climate, One Future”.
The 2010 Theme "OCEANS OF LIFE"
2011 Theme: Youth, the Next Wave for Change
2012 and 2013 Theme: Together we have the power to protect the ocean!