UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called on all governments and peoples to play their part to ensure that the world's oceans are protected for future generations, warning that they face major threats in the years ahead.
Ban, in a statement issued to mark World Oceans Day, outlined what he called "many severe challenges related to oceans."
World Oceans Day, which falls on Wednesday, is being celebrated around the world. ' "These range from depleted fishery resources, the impacts of climate change and the deterioration of the marine environment to maritime safety and security, labor conditions for seafarers and the increasingly important issue of migration by sea," he said.
"All activities and policies related to oceans and the marine environment need to acknowledge and incorporate the three pillars of sustainable development: environmental, social and economic," he said. "Only then can we achieve the development objectives set by the international community."
"I urge governments and all sectors of society to embrace our individual and collective responsibility to protect the marine environment and manage its resources in a sustainable manner for present and future generations," he said.
The world's oceans, which account for about 70 percent of the Earth's surface, are facing diverse challenges ranging from depleted fishery resources to the impacts of climate change, the deterioration of the marine environment, to issues of maritime safety and security, labor conditions for seafarers and the increasingly important issue of migration by sea.
In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as from 2009, June 8 would be designated by the United Nations as "World Oceans Day." Many countries have celebrated World Oceans Day following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life, power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere. The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans. (Xinhua)