Small Island Developing States, like Saint Lucia, depend on the ocean and its resources for food, transportation and shipping, tourism and recreation, religion, and medicine. The ocean regulates the climate, determining rainfall, droughts, and flooding and the plants found therein also generate much of the oxygen we breathe.
World Oceans Day was officially documented by the United Nations in 2008, and is observed every year on 8th June as a day “for celebrating the role of the oceans in our everyday life and inspiring action to protect the ocean and sustainably use marine resources”. It is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans, and to highlight the impacts of human actions on the ocean.
The International day also supports the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (especially SDG14, which addresses “Life Below Water”), and fosters public interest in the appreciation, sustainable development, and management of the ocean and its resources. This year, World Oceans Day highlights the theme of “Revitalization: collective action for the ocean”, showing that despite all the benefits it provides, the ocean is now in need of support through reduced pollution, regulated resource extraction (like fishing), habitat restoration (like coral reefs and mangroves), and more!
This year, the United Nations will host the first hybrid celebration of the annual event today– it will be hosted in person at the UN Headquarters in New York, and broadcast live worldwide, where thought-leaders, celebrities, community voices, and entrepreneurs will discuss steps to both inspire and ignite collaborative change.
Today, the Department of Sustainable Development launches the following activities, to commemorate World Oceans Day: 1. A World Oceans Day Art Competition, highlighting the 2022 theme for World Oceans Day. This is open to all students between the ages of 8 and 19 years and will be promoted through schools on the island. 2. School visits and presentations in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries (DOF) and the Plastic Waste Free Islands (PWFI) Project.
The Department of Sustainable Development believes this year’s commemorative activities for World Oceans Day in Saint Lucia reflect the importance of stimulating the mindset of the youth, by instilling knowledge on the significance of the ocean and its marine resources, and by encouraging their intelligent thinking on actions to support its regeneration and conservation while exploring the many opportunities it provides.