Oceans Are ‘Our Life Source, Supporting Humanity’s Sustenance and that of Every Other Organism on Earth’


Small fish hidden in a colorful anemone.

Magnificent sea anemone with its vivid red underside presents its guest, a resident pink skunk anemonefish. Ngemelis Region, Palau, South Pacific. This photo was one of the winners in the UN Oceans Day Photo Contest. PHOTO:Michael Gallagher

The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to most of earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world.

Not to mention, the ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.

Even though all its benefits, the ocean is now in need of support.

With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. To protect and preserve the ocean and all it sustains, we must create a new balance, rooted in true understanding of the ocean and how humanity relates to it. We must build a connection to the ocean that is inclusive, innovative, and informed by lessons from the past.

“The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods” is the theme for World Oceans Day 2021, as well as a declaration of intentions that launches a decade of challenges to get the Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”, by 2030.

Sea turtle

Visit the official UN World Oceans Day website!

Visit the official website to learn more about the International Day, find out about news and celebrations, or read the latest news and reports on the oceans.

World Oceans Day reminds every one of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our Planet and a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere.

The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.

The second fully virtual celebration of United Nations World Oceans Day, on 8 June 2021, will highlight the theme of The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods.

Produced by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations, in partnership with the non-profit organization Oceanic Global, and presenting partner Blancpain, this year’s annual event will shed light on the wonder of the ocean and how it is our life source, supporting humanity and every other organism on Earth.

Join us for this year’s UN World Oceans Day annual event as we hear from thought-leaders, celebrities, institutional partners, community voices, entrepreneurs, and cross-industry experts about the biodiversity and economic opportunity that the ocean sustains.

This year’s theme is especially relevant in the lead-up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will run from 2021 to 2030. The Decade will strengthen international cooperation to develop the scientific research and innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with the needs of society.

Announcing UN World Oceans Day 2021

Did you know?

  • The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen.

  • The ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.

  • Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

Women and Oceans was one of the winners in the Photo Competition. Author: Des Bowden.

Photo contest: Enjoy the most beautiful photos of the oceans

Discover the beauty of the oceans thanks to the photo contest organized by the United Nations on the occasion of World Oceans Day. The 2021 winners will be published shortly, but in the meantime you can see the finalists from previous editions and get ready, camera in hand … to participate in the next 2022 edition!

Related links

A kayaker in Raja Ampat

The Ocean Agency, a partner of the United Nations Environment Programme, is inviting parents and their little ones to experience the ocean and its astounding life forms from the comfort of their homes through a little armchair travel. Get inspired and engaged with virtual dives, expeditions and ocean quizzes about the fascinating underwater world in a click on your phone or laptop.

Local fisherman in Mexico

This year is the beginning of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021 to 2030. The Decade will provide a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to strengthen the international cooperation needed to develop the scientific research and innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with the needs of society.

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