One Planet, One Ocean
Together we have the power to protect the ocean
The importance of the ocean for sustainable development was recognized at the 2012 International Conference on Sustainable Development, and it lies at the heart of negotiations within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. World Oceans Day is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of the ocean for life on earth and to stand up for its protection.
At a time of rising threats, ‘business as usual’ is no longer acceptable -- we must change how we understand, manage and use ocean resources and coastal areas. For this, we need to know more about the ocean and draw on stronger science to craft sustainable, ecosystem-based policies for the ocean and coasts.
Through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, drawing on 46 marine World Heritage sites and the implementation of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, UNESCO acts at the forefront of intergovernmental efforts to deepen ocean research and policy.
UNESCO works to strengthen the evidence base for sharper decision-making on the ocean and to link science more tightly with policy and society. This includes strong partnerships with civil society. UNESCO is supporting a comprehensive platform of Non-Governmental Organizations to raise the profile of ocean issues in the run-up the Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP), in Lima in 2014 and in Paris next year.
Simultaneously, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Oceanography Society and the Fundació Navegació Ocèanica Barcelona are bringing together ocean science experts to shape international collaboration in marine sciences and technology at the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference that will be held this November in Barcelona, Spain. In collaboration with a variety of UN and other institutional stakeholders, UNESCO is also actively engaged in the World Ocean Assessment and the Global Environment Facility’s Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme, to improve knowledge about the ocean and deliver science-based information to decision-makers.
All of these efforts are important for mitigating ocean hazards and the impact of climate change, essential in this International Year of Small Island Developing States. UNESCO is fully on-board to help prepare the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States that will be held this September in Apia, Samoa, with an emphasis on engaging young people.
The ocean is essential to our well-being and the future of our planet, and World Oceans Day is a moment for all Governments and all societies to join forces in ensuring its protection.
One Planet, One Ocean – Together, we have the power to protect them both.
Civil Society Platform for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 21), with the support of UNESCO-IOC
Sailing & scientific communities
Partnership with the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona
- An unprecedented alliance between the sailing and scientific communities
- Skippers' messages for World Oceans Day
- 2nd International Ocean Research Conference
- Follow the transatlantic race New York-Barcelona
UNESCO in action
Facts and Figures
Our ocean covers over 70% of the globe. To date only a little over 1% of the ocean is protected.
An estimated 50-80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface and the oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet. Less than 10% of that space has been explored by humans.
Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton release half of all oxygen in the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
The oceans account for 96% of all the water on the surface of the Earth, the remainder being freshwater, in the form of rivers, lakes and ice.
The ocean absorbs approximately 25% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere from human activities each year, greatly reducing the impact of this greenhouse gas on the climate.
Total carbon deposits in coastal systems such as such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass meadows may be up to five times the carbon stored in tropical forests.