“Our oceans, our future”

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Erik Solheim, Head of the UN Environment, participates in the largest beach clean-up in history at Versova Beach, Mumbai in 2016. Over 100 tons of garbage was collected. Photo: RedBox Filmers. Flickr/UNEP.

Today marks the World Oceans Day. The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the very foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients and regulate climate. They are important economically for countries that rely on tourism, fishing and other marine resources for income and serve as the backbone of international trade.

This year’s theme is “Our oceans, our future” and is connected to the Ocean Conference taking place from 5 to 9 June at United Nations headquarters in New York. The UN Ocean Conference encompasses many aspect of marine management, such as sustainable fisheries, research and pollution. One of the main topics this year was plastic pollution. As much as 12 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year. 

Together with the Indonesian Minister for Maritime Affairs, Norwegian Minister of Climate and the Environment, Vidar Helgesen led a session dedicated specifically to marine litter.
“Plastic in the ocean is one of the world’s fastest growing environmental challenges. It has major consequences for life in the sea and for the world’s economies,” said Helgesen in his opening speech.

Reducing marine litter is, amongst other ocean related challenges, covered by UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”. 

In order to carry its share of the burden, the Norwegian government presented its first ever white paper on ocean this March, with the title “The place of the oceans in Norway’s foreign and development policy”. To access the white paper, clich here.

https://www.unworldoceansday.org/