World Oceans Day 2015

Event date: 
2015-06-08 12:06


Introduction and background

introduction - the beginning

World Oceans Day was first introduced in 1992 to raise awareness of the crucial role the sea plays as sources of food, oxygen and medicine. It was officially recognised by the United Nations (UN) in 2008 and is observed on June 8 each year.  World Ocean Day is celebrated each year to highlight the importance of the ocean in our daily lives. It is one of the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. The Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the impacts of human actions on the ocean; and to mobilise and unite the world behind a project of sustainable global ocean management.


Aims and objectives

The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all forms of life, power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere.  The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.

World Oceans Day helps you make a difference in your life, community, and world by taking action to protect our ocean for present and future generations. Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s ocean, by working together we can achieve a healthy ocean that provides for the billions of humans, plants and animals which depend on it every day.

In the past few decades, the threats from pollution, overfishing and other forms of exploitation to marine habitats have increased dramatically.  Around 3/4th of our planet is water. But with recent menace of global warming, there's a threat to even the largest natural resource on earth, i.e. water. And with that, there's a major hazard to the entire galaxy of marine life which thrives in the ocean. Add to that the frantic emptying of many water bodies to make space for industrial establishments. All this is a major threat to the ocean life which in turn will lead to a loss of equilibrium in the natural order of things

Why do we celebrate World Oceans Day?

  • To remind everyone of the major part the ocean has in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.
  • To inform the public on the impact of the human actions on the ocean.
  • To develop a worldwide movement of citisen, towards the ocean.
  • To mobilise and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world ocean. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.
  • To celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean


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Theme and messages

cleaning - waste - oceanThe ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more! In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.

Everyone’s health depends on a clean, productive ocean. Under the theme of Healthy oceans, healthy planet, we should encourage communities, NGOs and the private sector to focus on what actions each of us can take to protect the ocean and safeguard vulnerable communities and places. For instance, the focus could be on poorly managed waste such as plastics, chemicals, oil spillages, municipal sewerage systems and other forms of wasted originating from both inland and the coastal area. The ocean and its wildlife are choking on plastic, and we need to both stop this pollution at the source, and clean it up from the coasts.


South Africa’s celebration

Operation Phakisa logoThe 2015 World Oceans Day celebrations in South Africa have been preceded by the launch of Operation Phakisa, whose first implementation is led by the Department of Environmental Affairs and focuses on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa's oceans. It is a representative of that new spirit of moving faster in meeting government’s targets. South African Government’s starting point was that South Africa is surrounded by a vast ocean which has not fully taken advantage of the immense potential of this untapped resource. The oceans have the potential to contribute up to 177 billion rand to the gross domestic product (GDP) and create just over one million jobs by 2033. 

In taking this operation forward, the South African Government has also identified marine protection and oceans governance as one of the four critical areas of concern in the exploration of the potential that the oceans economy has for the benefit of the country's economic growth.

Media statements and speeches



Department of Environmental Affairs to host the World Oceans Day Celebrations

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) will on Monday, 08 June 2015 host the annual World Oceans Day celebration in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. World Oceans Day is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme celebrated annually on 8th June, with an aim of raising awareness about the significance of the marine environment.



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