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    UNIS/SGSM/273
    6 June 2011

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

    "There are Many Severe Challenges Related to Oceans"

    Message on World Oceans Day,
    8 June 2011

    VIENNA, 8 June (UN Information Service) - World Oceans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of oceans to humankind's sustainable development. It is also a time to recognize the many severe challenges related to oceans. These range from depleted fishery resources, the impacts of climate change and the deterioration of the marine environment to maritime safety and security, labour conditions for seafarers and the increasingly important issue of migration by sea.

    Some of these concerns have arisen since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The progressive development of the law of the sea through the Convention and related instruments is meant to contribute to the sustainable development of the oceans and seas as well as to the strengthening of international peace and security, the equitable and efficient utilization of ocean resources, the protection and preservation of the marine environment and the realization of a just and equitable economic order. As such, the law of the sea provides a flexible and evolving framework for adapting to new challenges.

    The ecosystem functions that oceans provide, and their importance to the global economy, deserve particular attention as we look ahead to next year's Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. For that reason, the theme of this year's observance is "Our oceans: greening our future".

    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. Only then can we achieve the development objectives set by the international community. On this year's World Oceans Day, 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.

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