This year’s World Ocean’s Day takes place on Wednesday 8 June and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission will mark the event with a celebration. At the event, they will also hold a discussion on the importance of the ocean in controlling the planet’s climate. The discussion will be a follow up to the climate change agenda agreed in Paris in December last year.
Long overlooked in international negotiations about climate change, the role of the ocean was taken into account for the first time at the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris. A high level panel discussion entitled Moving from Agreement to Action, will examine the follow up to the Paris Agreement and the place of the ocean in the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda adopted by the United Nations in the autumn of 2015.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will take part in the panel discussion, Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization and Lisa Emelia Svensson, Special Representative of Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.
During the Day, adolescents will come together at a UNESCO Campus (10 – 11.30 am). Other notable events will include a lecture on ocean acidification (2.30 – 3.30 pm), a debate on the need raise public awareness of ocean science (3.30 – 4.30 pm) and a round table discussion entitled Climate – The ocean is part of the solutions (11 am to 1 pm).
Since it is the largest net supplier of oxygen in the world, the ocean is as important as forests as the “lung” of the planet. By absorbing nearly one quarter of the carbon emissions produced by human activity, the ocean also plays a regulating role in climate change.
However, the increase of carbon dioxide emission, which translates into ocean acidification, the over-exploitation of resources and pollution, diminish marine ecosystems’ capacity to adapt to present and future climate changes. This subject will be addressed during the COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016.