Since 2009, the United Nations celebrate World Oceans Day on 8 June in order to raise awareness about the value and importance of our oceans.

Oceans and seas are still the least protected areas on Earth. The United Nations agreed to place a minimum of 10 per cent of the marine surface under protection by 2020. Oceans contain 97 percent of the world’s water resources. They are rich in biodiversity, provide raw materials, food and pharmaceutical ingredients. They keep energy stocks available, serve as transport routes and offer valuable recreational space.


World Oceans Day takes place every 8 June. The concept was originally proposed in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Brundtland Commission, i.e. the World Commission on Environment and Development, provided the inspiration for a global oceans day. The 1987 Brundtland Report noted that the ocean sector lacked a strong voice compared to other sectors. At the first World Oceans Day in 1992, the objectives were to move the oceans from the sidelines to the center of the intergovernmental and NGO discussions and policy and to strengthen the voice of ocean and coastal constituencies worldwide.

Since 2002, there has been a concerted effort to promote World Oceans Day as a unique opportunity to celebrate the ocean, our connections, and make a real difference. The Ocean Project, working in partnership with leading organizations from all sectors, including the World Ocean Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and many others in its network of 2,000 organizations, has been promoting World Oceans Day since 2002 and together with World Ocean Network led a four-year global petition movement to secure official UN recognition. Each year there are more organizations world-wide who mark World Oceans Day. Some more on the history can be found here.

In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution officially recognizing 8 June to be “World Oceans Day”, effective 2009, through Resolution 63/111 (paragraph 171). As such, the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs promotes the celebration of this International Day for the United Nations.

In 2014, the United Nations launched the annual amateur World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition.

World Oceans Day events are celebrated on 8 June, the closest weekend, the week, and the month of June. The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events. Youth have been playing an increasingly important role since 2015. The World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council has been helping lead conservation awareness and action efforts globally since 2016.


Of course, every tiny steps, and every bit of help, could make a change. If you want to help, visit: