New Delhi: India, along with the global community, is observing World Oceans Day today. The occasion falls on every 8 June.
Originally, 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, proposed the concept in 1992. The Brundtland Commission aka the World Commission on Environment and Development inspired the people for a day dedicated the world over to the oceans.
The 1987 Brundtland Report had noted that very few among the sensitised section of the world population were raising their voices for the conservation of oceans whereas there were activists galore for other sectors. Thus, when the first World Oceans Day was observed in 1992, the international body set the aim to move the oceans from the margins to the mainstream of discussions by intergovernmental agencies and NGOs. It was believed this would strengthen the voice of the people living on the oceans and coasts worldwide.
Ten years later began a concerted effort to promote the World Oceans Day. They said it was a unique opportunity to celebrate the oceans by highlighting the human connections with the water bodies and make a real difference.
Working in partnership with big organisations from all sectors, including the World Ocean Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and many others in its network of 2,000 organisations, the Ocean Project has been promoting the occasion since 2002.
The Ocean Project collaborated with the World Ocean Network to organise a four-year global petition movement to secure an official UN recognition of the occasion.
Every year, more and more organisations worldwide mark World Oceans Day.
Finally, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution officially recognising 8 June as the World Oceans Day in 2008.
Resolution 63/111 (paragraph 171) came into force with effect from 2009. As such, the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs promote the celebration of this international day for the United Nations.
In 2014, the United Nations launched the annual amateur World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition.
But it is not this date alone that is rigidly adhered to for marking the occasion. Not only on 8 June, but events are organised also during the closest weekend, the week and the month of June.
New campaigns and initiatives are launched this day every year. Special events at aquariums and zoos, educational and conservation action programmes, art contests, film festivals, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups and sustainable seafood events are organised on the occasion.
The youth have been playing an increasingly important role in the conservation of oceans since 2015.
The World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council plays a stellar role in conservation efforts, spreading awareness and making efforts to save the oceans internationally since 2016.