UN urges protection of the ocean on World Oceans Day

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To commemorate World Oceans Day, the United Nations family is encouraging the international community to reflect on the multiple benefits of oceans and commit to keeping them healthy and productive for current and future generations.

With the planet's oceans under stress, the United Nations is marking World Oceans Day by appealing to the international community to keep oceans healthy and productive and to use their resources peacefully, equitably and sustainably for the benefit of current and future generations. [Photo/screen capture UNESCO/Global Partnership for Oceans]

"We have to ensure that oceans continue to meet our needs without compromising those of future generations," stressed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a message marking the Day, adding "their depths hold current and future solutions to humanity's energy needs."

Oceans regulate the planet's climate while providing a significant source of nutrition and essential passage for global trade. World Oceans Day is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of the oceans for life on earth and to stand up for their protection.

Oceans generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, and are important economically for countries that rely on tourism, fishing and other marine resources for income, and serve as the backbone of international trade.

Unfortunately, human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world's oceans and seas.

In her message, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), emphasized that "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."

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