Lead up to the Ocean Conference

Date: 
Wednesday, 31 May 2017

New York | iSeek

Colleagues across the UN system are gearing up for the Ocean Conference that will take place from 5 to 9 June at UNHQ New York. The Conference is essentially bookended by celebrations for World Environment Day on 5 June and World Oceans Day on 8 June.

World Environment Day celebrations around the world will kick off the Conference. This year, World Environment Day is hosted by Canada and will be part of the country’s 150th celebration. In the lead up to the day, UN Environment will disseminate educational kits to 50,000 universities across the world and the #WithNature social media campaign will invite citizens to submit selfies taken in nature. 

In addition, a “Go Green” campaign will see landmark buildings, including the Empire State Building, lit up in green. At UNHQ, there will be a unique exhibit of sculptures made up of ocean plastic debris.

World Oceans Day will be celebrated with a special programme in New York during the Ocean Conference that will feature a video by Avatar director James Cameron and appearances by celebrities and ocean champions. The Empire State Building will be lit up blue for the day.

The Ocean Conference (#SaveOurOcean), hosted by Fiji and Sweden, which aims to reverse the deterioration of the health of the global ocean, will consist of plenary meetings, parallel partnership dialogues, and numerous side events. Seven partnership dialogues will focus on marine pollution, restoring ecosystems, ocean acidification, sustainable fisheries, the economic benefits for Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, and the sustainable use of oceans. 

In the lead up to the Conference, the UN is asking for "voluntary commitments" by Member States and civil society. To date, more than 200 voluntary commitments have been received.

In New York, the World Ocean Festival will take place on 4 June and will include a parade of water vessels on the Hudson River, hosted by the City of New York Mayor and organized by the Global Brain Foundation. Ocean week will also be marked with beach clean ups and a Green Fair at UNHQ New York.