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Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson led the celebration of World Oceans Day

08 June 2015


The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Ms Barbara Thomson led the celebration of World Oceans Day today, 08 June 2015 in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

The purpose of this event is to raise awareness about the significance of the marine environment and to also promote the role of the oceans and the importance of conserving and protecting the marine environment.

World Oceans Day (WOD) this year was celebrated under the UNEP’s theme: “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”. The Department of Environmental Affairs has strategically customised the theme to “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet: Enabling Sustainable Ocean Economy Development,” as a way to highlight government’s commitment to sustainable ocean economy through Operation Phakisa.

The observance of World Oceans Day in South Africa allows us to highlight the impact and contribution of oceans in our country. Celebrating the day provides the department with an opportunity to highlight the considerable challenges we face in dealing with marine pollution, maintaining the oceans’ capacity to regulate the global climate, supply essential ecosystem services and provide sustainable livelihoods and safe recreation.

Delivering the key note address Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Ms Barbara Thomson said, “The use of various marine resources in our ocean space has increased over time and there still remains significant potential for the unlocking of further economic development opportunities in our country’s oceans space. We thus need to develop a proactive approach to understand our oceans capacity and role to ensure socio-economic emancipation while protecting this vast and fragile environment. We aspire to create partnerships while strengthening existing ones to develop means and ways to share the wealth of the ocean for the benefit of all South Africans. As the custodian of the environment, the Department of Environmental Affairs will continue its efforts to protect and maintain our marine biodiversity.  Aspects of climate change, ocean acidification, pollution, unsustainable coastal area development and unwanted impacts from resource extraction need to be addressed for human well-being, environmental prosperity and integrity”.

Furthermore this event offers a good opportunity to reach out to the community, stakeholders, unemployed youth for public awareness and education on ocean environment.

It is initiatives like these that remind citizens on how crucial it is to protect our environment and protect its natural resources.

For media queries, contact:

Zolile Nqayi
Cell: 082 898 6483