Déclaration de la direction | 07 Juin, 2024

IUCN Director General's Statement for World Ocean Day

The ocean is a world with three dimensions. The first is depth, from the tides lapping at our feet on a beach to the marine trenches that plunge far into a realm untouched by sunlight. The second is length, with waves that travel thousands of miles between North Pole and South. The third is width, an immense body of saltwater enveloping the entire globe, coursing unbroken for more than 40,000 kilometres.

content hero image

Hammerhead sharks near Yonaguni, Japan.

Photo: Masayuki Agawa-Ocean Image Bank

Ours is a blue planet, and the huge complex processes within its vast three dimensions underpin life as we know it. The urgent challenges facing the ocean today are similarly vast, and call for humanity to Awaken New Depths in our endeavours to save the world’s blue beating heart.

IUCN has worked for many years on the conservation of the ocean. Joining forces with our 1,400 Members and 16,000 experts in seven Commissions we have created tools, driven concrete impact, and influenced international policy in the right direction.

This work must continue in the face of ocean pollution, acidification, warming, and other global stressors that now threaten more than 50% of mangrove ecosystems with extinction. IUCN is proud to help play a leading role for our seas, for instance by co-launching the Great Blue Wall, which aims to benefit more than 70 million people in the Western Indian Ocean.

This year, we must strive for a fully functional High Seas Biodiversity Treaty. All signing nations should be supported in the ratification process to bring this treaty into force, moving almost half of the planet’s surface into better regulation through international law. Similarly, we need to increase the number of ratifying countries for the global agreement on unsustainable fisheries' practices and subsidies, so that the world’s fish stocks are not overexploited. We must also continue to make the scientific, legal, and moral case for a moratorium on deep-sea mining.

Finally, as IUCN has explained, the protection and restoration of marine life, and planetary biodiversity in general, need to be incorporated in the upcoming global plastic pollution treaty, strengthening its links with the Biodiversity Plan’s targets and the High Seas Biodiversity Treaty.

It is clear that humanity must build on the momentum of our ocean breakthroughs, coral breakthrough, and mangrove breakthrough; the life of the ocean and our blue planet require it. IUCN is ready to play our part in turning the tide.