16 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
10:00am – 6:30 pm (Reception following)
Washington, D.C. - A special day is being set aside during the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (known as the Rio+20 Conference) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 16, 2012 to focus high-level political attention on the importance of oceans and coasts in sustainable development. The Oceans Day at Rio+20 will bring together high-level representatives from governments, civil society, and the private sector to:
-- Reflect on what has/has not been done in achieving major ocean-related sustainable development
-- Rekindle political will to implement new and old commitments;
-- Showcase tangible pledges for action, including Voluntary Commitments for Rio+20, to spur action on
oceans, coasts, and small island developing States (SIDS) in the post-Rio+20 world; and
-- Consider the opportunities and challenges for implementation of the Rio+20 "oceans package."
Oceans are the quintessential sustainable development issue—essential to the economic, social, and
environmental pillars of sustainable development—and perform vital life-sustaining functions for the planet.
They generate half of the oxygen on Earth, absorb 25-30% of carbon emissions, and regulate global climate and temperature. Nearly half of the global population lives in coastal areas, including in 21 of the world's 33 megacities. Fisheries and aquaculture provide almost one billion people with over 50% of their animal protein intake and are also vital sources of livelihood for about 200 million people.
Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain, President of the Global Ocean Forum and Co-Chair of The Oceans Day at Rio+20
noted, "As negative drivers continue to threaten the world's oceans and new challenges emerge, now is the time to take urgent action to ensure the continued functioning of ocean and coastal ecosystems that we all depend upon so much for sustainable development needs." She continued, "The Oceans Day at Rio+20 will gather high-level policymakers and leaders from all sectors of the oceans community to ask the world's leaders to take hold of the unique opportunity presented by the Rio+20 Conference and take tangible and urgent action for oceans, coasts, and small island developing States (SIDS)."
Speakers at The Oceans Day at Rio+20 will include:
- Ms. Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator for the Rio+20 Conference
- Ambassador Isabelle Picco, Permanent Mission of Monaco to the United Nations
- Dr. Gustavo Fonseca, Head, Division of Natural Resources, Global Environment Facility (GEF)
- Mr. Wang Hong, Deputy Administrator, State Oceanic Administration, People's Republic of China
- Mr. Árni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
- Mr. Su'a N.F. Tanielu, Director-General, Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
- Mr. Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change, Seychelles
- Dr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Director, Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, UNEP
- Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Mr. Karl Falkenberg, Directorate-General Environment, European Commission
- Ms. Rachel Kyte, Vice President for the Sustainable Development Network, World Bank
- Dr. Braulio F. de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
- Mr. David Tongue, Director of Regulatory Affairs, International Chamber of Shipping
Mr. Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and Co-Chair of The Oceans Day at Rio+20, stresses the importance of oceans and coasts in the sustainable development of small island developing States, "SIDS are essentially large ocean states and are critically dependent on the oceans for food, livelihood, health, and cultural well-being. If the health of the oceans is impacted, it will become impossible for SIDS to achieve their sustainable development goals."
The main outcome of The Oceans Day at Rio+20 will be the Rio Ocean Declaration, which will address
priority action items for oceans and coasts, both at the Rio+20 Conference and in the post-Rio+20 world.
The Rio Ocean Declaration will be given to the heads of state present at the Rio+20 High-Level Ministerial Segment, and widely disseminated among government delegations and other stakeholders, including members of civil society and the private sector.
Dr. Wendy Watson Wright, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, and Co-Chair of The Oceans Day at Rio+20, highlights the issue of ocean acidification, one of the issues being addressed at The Oceans Day at Rio+20, "The increasing acidity of the ocean will drastically impact the health of marine and coastal ecosystems around the world, as well as the lives of those who depend upon them. We need much more accurate data, improved observations, and economic valuation of the damage that will be caused by ocean acidification, and we need more effective ways to use these data to support effective decisionmaking."
The Oceans Day at Rio+20 is co-organized by the Global Ocean Forum together with the State Oceanic
Administration (SOA), People's Republic of China; the Global Environment Facility (GEF); the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF), Japan; and the University of Delaware as principal organizers; and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO); the International Maritime
Organization (IMO); the World Bank; the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); the Fórum Do Mar, Brazil; the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; the Republic of Seychelles; the Republic of Vietnam; the World Ocean Network; the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI); the Nature Conservancy (TNC); the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME) Project; the Natural Resources Defense Council; and the SeaOrbiter as co-organizers.
The Oceans Day at Rio+20 will also celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Global Ocean Forum, which was formed to help the world's governments place issues related to oceans, coasts, and small island developing States on the agenda of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Oceans Day at Rio+20 will be held at the Rio Conventions Pavilion at Rio+20, located in Athlete's Park, which is immediately adjacent to the formal Rio+20 government negotiations at RioCentro.
To register for The Oceans Day at Rio+20, please visit http://www.globaloceans.org/sites/udel.edu.globaloceans/files/OD-Rio-reg....
Media wishing to attend The Oceans Day at Rio+20 should contact Joe Appiott, Global Ocean Forum
+1-302-831-8086 | firstname.lastname@example.org.