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Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Message for World Oceans Day

Our oceans: opportunities and challenges

8 June 2010 - Oceans play a key role in our daily lives. They are integral to sustainable development and an important frontier for research. As scientists explore the oceans at greater depths than ever before, they continue to discover new forms of marine life. This research has great potential to advance human well-being.

But, if we are to fully benefit from what oceans have to offer, we must address the damaging impacts of human activities. The diversity of life in the oceans is under ever-increasing strain. Over-exploitation of marine living resources, climate change, and pollution from hazardous materials and activities all pose a grave threat to the marine environment. So does the growth of criminal activities, including piracy, which have serious implications for the security of navigation and the safety of seafarers.

Much action is already being taken within the framework of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – our "constitution for the oceans". More than 15 years after the Convention's entry into force, it continues to act as our guide. But if we are to safeguard the capacity of the oceans to service society's many and varied needs, we need to do much more. On this second annual commemoration of World Oceans Day, I urge Governments and citizens everywhere to acknowledge the enormous value of the world's oceans - and do their part in ensuring their health and vitality.