World Oceans Day (WOD) takes place annually on the 8th of June. The concept was originally proposed in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. WOD was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008. The International day supports the implementation of worldwide Sustainability Development Goals, and fosters public interest in the management of the ocean and its resources.
The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events. Youth have been playing an increasingly important role since 2015. The Youth Advisory Council has been helping lead conservation awareness and action efforts globally since 2016.
World Oceans Day History:
2020: World Oceans Day
First Virtual United Nations World Oceans Day Event
- While traditionally an event held at the UN HQ in NYC, due to COVID-19 the United Nations World Oceans Day 2020 was the first ever digital rendition, accessible to the global public.
United Nations Ocean Conference & World Oceans Day
- The Declaration of World Oceans Day in 2008 catalysed action worldwide. Twenty-five years after the first Oceans Day took place in Rio de Janeiro at UNCED, a special event on 8 June marked its celebration during the United Nations Ocean Conference held from 5-9 June 2017. The Ocean Conference was convened to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)14 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
2014: World Oceans Day
the United Nations launched the annual amateur Oceanic Photo Competition.
The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network recorded over 300 events for WOD 2010, a 26% increase over 2009. Participation in the United States increased by 32% (with participation in 37 states, as compared to 25 states the previous year). 45 countries participated in World Oceans Day 2010, including Bangladesh, Belgium, French Polynesia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malta, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Portugal.
In the early years of coordinated efforts by The Ocean Project, with World Ocean Network, events numbered in the dozens. During this time, www.WorldOceansDay.org launched, to help promote the event and generate more involvement through dissemination of resources, ideas, and tools free for everyone to use to celebrate World Oceans Day. In 2004, The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network launched a four-year petition to the United Nations to officially recognize 8 June as WOD. In December 2008, the UN General Assembly passed a Declaration to officially recognize the Day.
The Brundtland Commission (also known as the World Commission on Environment and Development) noted in the 1987 Brundtland Report that the ocean sector lacked a strong voice compared to other sectors.
At the first WOD in 1992, the objectives were to move the oceans from the sidelines to the center of the intergovernmental and NGO discussions and policy and to strengthen the voice of ocean and coastal constituencies worldwide.
World Oceans Day: Themes
- 2022: Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean
- 2021: The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods
- 2020: Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean
- 2019: Gender and Oceans
- 2018: Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean
- 2017: Our Oceans, Our Future
- 2016: Healthy oceans, healthy planet
- 2015: Healthy oceans, healthy planet
- 2014: Together we have the power to protect the ocean
- 2013: Together we have the power to protect the ocean
- 2012: Youth: the Next Wave for Change
- 2011: Youth: the Next Wave for Change
- 2010: Oceans of Life: Pick your favorite * Protect your favorite
- 2009: “Our Oceans, Our Responsibility” and “One Ocean, One Climate, One Future”