World Oceans Day – 8th June
World Oceans Day is an event which takes place on the 8th June annually. This day was officially recognized by the United Nations (UN) in 2008 and is observed by all UN member states, which includes South Africa. World Oceans Day is aimed at honouring ecosystem services provided by the ocean while improving the conservation of marine species as well as environmental awareness and education to the general public.
The United Nations derived themes for which the UN member states can incorporate in their celebration event. The theme for 2014 is “Together we have the power to protect the ocean”. The theme addresses the deterioration of ocean health and productivity due to poor management of the ocean.
Ocean’s Day ties in with the Department’s vision highlighted in the White Paper of the National Environmental Management of the Ocean. Cabinet has decided that the Minister of Environmental Affairs (supported by key ministries as well as the National Planning Commission) develop an integrated approach to ocean governance including management plans for ocean areas, environmental variables, conflict scenarios and trade-offs as highlighted in the White Paper.
In taking into consideration the Cabinet decision, the Oceans Day event will help promote the engagement of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, scientists, the private sector, industry and community for better ocean management.
It is therefore, imperative that we start building relations with relevant stakeholders including communities to understand the economic value of the ocean while conserving biodiversity and enhancing social benefits. The Department decided to incorporate the UN theme as well as the decision by cabinet thus coming up with the following catch-phrases:
- Our oceans our economy;
- Better oceans for a better economy;
- Helping our oceans work for our economy;
- Blue / Green economy – for a vibrant ocean;
- Together we have the power to protect our ocean for a better economy.
The Department favours the last theme as it encompasses UN’s 2013 & 2014 theme and the decision taken by cabinet on the White Paper of the National Environmental Management of the Ocean. The Department went through a process of identifying and considering various venues based on matters relating to oceans and coastal challenges. The Eastern Cape has been rated the forth economic contributing province in South Africa. Port Elizabeth prides itself in being the economic hub of the Eastern Cape with a harbour in Algoa Bay; an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) of Coega which has an international harbour, the Port of Ngqura built to house the increase of industries in the area.
There are plans to have a nuclear power plant in the Greater St Francis area. Ocean’s Day will be celebrated over two days, Day 1: Is a Community event and Day 2: Is the Launch of the White Paper on the National Environmental Management of the Ocean. This will be a more formal event and we aim to invite all relevant stakeholders.Communications will work together with Oceans and Coasts Branch in ensuring that the event is also used as awareness-raising exercise.
“Together we have the power to protect our ocean for a better economy”
Media related products
- Media statement: World Oceans Day Celebration
- A newspaper advert: World Ocean Day - Together we have the power to protect the ocean.