World Oceans Day: what is it, why is it important and how do we get involved?


World Oceans Day is celebrated every June 8 as a reminder of how important our seas are for life on Earth.

Ocean Day was first proclaimed at the initiative of the United Nations in 1992 following the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, also known as the Earth’s Summit, which led to important climate change goals.

In 2008, June 8 was officially declared World Oceans Day with a different theme each year.

What is World Oceans Day?

The day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits people have from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably.

It is also an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate what the ocean has to offer, from the oxygen we breathe to the inspiration it gives to artists.

Why is World Oceans Day important?

The oceans cover more than 70% of the planet, produce at least 50% of the world’s oxygen, are home to most of the Earth’s biodiversity and are a major source of protein for more than a billion people.

They also absorb about 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by humans – a buffer against the harmful effects of global warming.

A new YouGov survey of 1,696 adults found that almost three-quarters (73%) of people in the UK believe ocean ocean wildlife needs more protection.

The UN hopes that World Oceans Day will help inform the public about human actions in the ocean and develop a global movement to protect it and unite the world in sustainable ocean governance.

The world’s oceans are home to most of the Earth’s biodiversity

What is this year’s theme and what do they dare to achieve?

Revitalization, collective action for the ocean is the theme of World Oceans Day 2022.

The ocean can connect, support and sustain us all, but its health is “at a tipping point, and so is the well-being of all who depend on it,” the UN says.

This year’s theme is designed to encourage people to work together to create a new balance with the ocean, which no longer exhausts it, but restores its vitality and brings new life to it.

The events will focus on illuminating communities, ideas and solutions that work together to protect and revitalize the ocean and everything it preserves.

This year’s conservation focus is the 30×30 initiative, based on scientific estimates that 30% of the earth’s territory, waters and oceans need to be protected by 2030 to create a healthy ocean to stabilize the climate.

Currently, less than 17% of the land and 8% of the world’s oceans are protected.

Leaders in more than 90 countries, including the United Kingdom, have already adopted the 30×30 target, but hope to grow it into a truly global movement.

What about this year?

It is imperative that we help protect the ocean every day, but we are currently in a decade of UN ocean science for sustainable development.

From 2021 to 2030, we are working to make better use of our current knowledge of the oceans to help policymakers and decision-makers choose the best options for rescuing the oceans and measure the potential policy implications.

Workers unload tuna from a fishing boat in Port Victoria
90% of large fish populations are currently depleted, the UN says

The decade is also dedicated to supporting a sustainable blue economy, sharing responsibility for protecting the oceans, and promoting scientific research and technology.

All of this is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN members to tackle poverty and other deprivation, reduce inequality, promote economic growth, tackle climate change and conserve our oceans and resources.

Who can get involved?


Science centers, research institutes, governments, NGOs, businesses and communities around the world are planning local and global events involving millions of people.

But you don’t have to be part of a group to participate.

World Oceans Day is taking place for the first time, both virtually and in person, at the UN headquarters in New York, after we participated only online during the pandemic.

Face mask on the beach
Prisons around the world have not stopped pollution in our seas

Many people will speak, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, supermodel and sustainability advocate Amber Valletta, Lea d’Auriol, founder of the NGO Oceanic Global, acclaimed marine biologist Sylvia Earle, chef Shinobu Namae and Lisa Blair, the first woman to sailed independently in Antarctica.

The events start at 10.00 EST (15.00 British time) and will end with the performance of singer Bedouine from 13.00 EST (18.00 British time).

At 11.30 EST (16.30 UK), the finalists and winners of the World Oceans Day photo competition will be announced.

You can sign up for events here.


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