The United Nations has designated June 8th as World Oceans Day to recognize both the oceans’ contributions to human society, and to raise awareness of the challenges that they face. This year’s theme, ‘Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet’, focuses on the many ways that the oceans maintain the stability of the global environment.
As part of the celebration, Hōkūle‘a, a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, will arrive at the United Nations. The crew has been sailing across the oceans to support the global movement to a more sustainable world. Upon arrival, they will perform a traditional Hawaiian ceremony during which they will present the Secretary-General or his designate with a set of declarations.
Many countries have celebrated World Oceans Day following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as of 2009, 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day” (resolution 63/111, paragraph 171).
In celebrating World Oceans Day, the UN aims:
- To remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.
- To inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean.
- To develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean.
- To mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.
- To celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.