World Oceans Day celebration at the Melbourne Aquarium

r. Denise Hardesty admiring the creativity of Emerald Primary School students marine debris artwork

On June 6 UNIC Canberra marked World Oceans Day at the Melbourne Aquarium  with an event highlighting the success of a citizen science project to identify the impact of marine debris. Organized by Earthwatch Australia and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) the event centred on the Earthwatch project, TeachWild, which inspires Australian school children to become citizen scientists to survey the sources and distribution of marine debris  on local beaches across the country.

The UNIC Canberra Director opened the event with the Secretary-General’s message for the Day, and the audience also heard from the CSIRO lead project scientist, the Country Social Investment Manager from Shell who sponsor the project.  The highlight of the event were students from Emerald Primary School who demonstrated how they used collected rubbish to form artistic sculptures.

2013 Theme: Together, we have the power to protect the oceans

Photo credit: UNESCOBy its resolution 63/111 of 5 December 2008, the UN General Assembly designated 8 June as World Oceans Day.

The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.

The lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe, the oceans are also a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere. The General Assembly recognized the important contribution of sustainable development and management of the resources and uses of the oceans and seas to the achievement of international development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

The resolution calls upon user States and States bordering straits used for international navigation to continue to cooperate by agreement on matters relating to navigational safety, including safety aids for navigation, and the prevention, reduction and control of pollution from ships. Member states are also urged to increase the coverage of hydrographic information on a global basis to enhance capacity-building and technical assistance and to promote safe navigation, especially in areas used for international navigation, in ports and where there are vulnerable or protected marine areas.

Learn more about the Day.