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Oceans The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

UN Observances 

8 June – World Ocean Day:

UN and related bodies 

UN Oceans –an inter-agency coordination mechanism on oceans and coastal issues within the UN system:

RIO+20, the future we want – Oceans: UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform – Oceans & Seas:

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UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea: UN Development Programme (UNDP) - Water and Ocean Governance: s/water_and_ocean_governance.html UN Environment Programme (UNEP) o Regional Seas Programme: o UNEP GRID-Arendal - Marine Division: UN Educational, Scientific and Cutural Organization (UNESCO) o Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission: o The Oceans Compact: International Maritime Organization (IMO): Further related links:

Further Information 

Global issues on the UN Agenda – Oceans and the Law of the Sea

Selected UN documents and publications     

UN documents on “Oceans” – click here Green Economy in a Blue World (UNEP, 2012): Why value the oceans? A discussion paper (UNEP GRID-Arendal, February 2012): Blue Carbon: The Role of Healthy Oceans in Binding Carbon (UNEP / FAO / UNESCO, 2009): Marine Litter: A Global Challenge (UNEP, April 2009): _Challenge.pdf

Selected Statements and Speeches by UN Officials          

Secretary-General’s message to ‘La Haute Mer, Avenir de L’humanité’ Conference urges stronger, more pragmatic protection for world’s oceans (SG/SM/14937, 11 April 2013): New momentum needed for ocean sustainability, Secretary-General says at event marking Law of the Sea Treaty milestone, launch of new compact (SG/SM/14457-SEA/1980, 13 August 2012): Secretary-General, at Yeosu Declaration Forum, calls oceans ‘modern maritime silk road’, stressing need for greater responsibility in protecting them (SG/SM/14458-SEA/1981, 13 August 2012): ‘Blue World’ of healthy, productive oceans can boost green economy of future, play immense role in sustainable development, says Secretary-General (SG/SM/14372-ENV/DEV/1307, 22 June 2012): On World Oceans Day, Secretary-General says no more fitting way to commemorate than ratifying Law of Sea Convention, setting sail towards desired future (SG/SM/14331-OBV/1111-SEA/1970, 5 June 2012): Secretary-General says, in message, with little more than 1 per cent of marine environments protected, Rio+20 must galvanize action to better manage oceans (SG/SM/14287-ENV/DEV/1280OBV/1104, 16 May 2012): Secretary-General, in message for World Oceans Day, says all marine-related activities, policies must incorporate sustainable development ‘pillars’ (SG/SM/13619-OBV/1005-SEA/1951, 3 June 2011): Fixing Our Broken Oceans (17 June 2011) / article written by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and Joshua S. Reichert of the Pew Environment Group: Secretary-General, in message for World Oceans Day, says human activities place ever-increasing strain on diversity of marine life (SG/SM/12933-OBV/886-SEA/1937, 3 June 2010): Safe, healthy, productive oceans integral to human well-being, economic security, sustainable development, says Secretary-General on first World Day (SG/SM/12289-OBV/792-SEA/1912, 4 June 2009):

April 2013 not an official document – for information only


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