World Oceans Day
Our oceans: opportunities and challenges

8 June 2010, World Oceans Day - Billions of dollars and thousands of lives can be saved if we address the loss of marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystem services through improved governance. This is a key theme of World Oceans Day, celebrated on 8 June 2010 for the second year running.

In his message for World Oceans Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: "If we are to safeguard the capacity of the oceans to service society's many and varied needs, we need to do much more. On this second annual commemoration of World Oceans Day, I urge Governments and citizens everywhere to acknowledge the enormous value of the world's oceans - and do their part in ensuring their health and vitality."

Ocean ecosystems are under great stress from multiple challenges including exposure to land and marine based pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, unsustainable harvests and the introduction of exotic invasive species.

Coastal ecosystem services are valued at around US$25,000 billion per year through areas like food production, storm and flood regulatory services, climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration. Yet these values are often overlooked when national development policies are prepared, much to the detriment of the poorest.

Because of the weakening of these key ecosystems, about 270 million people are affected annually and some 124,000 killed worldwide every year by natural disasters including floods and droughts. Yet these can be prevented by reducing deforestation of catchments as well as restoring wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs.

This year, the UN Environment Programme is commemorating World Oceans Day at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi with the screening of Ωcéans, a film by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud film. The documentary is designed to raise awareness of the need to protect our oceans,

Using new underwater cameras that followed sea life over the course of four years in 50 locations around the world, Ωcéans is a timely reminder of the incredible beauty of a little-known, but fragile world. The crews - including some of the world's most experienced underwater cinematographers - captured about 200 species of fish, dolphins, whales, squid, lizards, crabs, turtles and creatures that defy classification.


 

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