UN-Oceans activities

Joint statements and side events

Other inter-agency activities by UN-Oceans members

  • Global Climate Observing System - GCOS is intended to be a long-term, user-driven operational system capable of providing the comprehensive observations required for monitoring the climate system, for detecting and attributing climate change, for assessing the impacts of climate variability and change, and for supporting research toward improved understanding, modelling and prediction of the climate system. It addresses the total climate system including physical, chemical and biological properties, and atmospheric, oceanic, hydrologic, cryospheric and terrestrial processes. (Lead: WMO)
  • Global Environment Facility - International Waters The Global Environment Facility is a partnership between 182 member governments, 4 United Nations Agencies (UNDP, UNEP, FAO, UNIDO), the World Bank, 4 Regional Development Banks, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector - to address global environmental issues. Under its International Waters focal area, the GEF finances activities to helps countries collectively manage their transboundary surface water basins, groundwater basins, and coastal and marine systems in order to sustain and share the benefits from them. With the help of the 10 GEF Agencies, the GEF International Waters portfolio has supported regional collaborative efforts for 22 transboundary surface water basins, 16 large marine ecosystems, and 5 cross-border groundwater systems. The development of 13 new regional treaties, protocols, and regional agreements during these GEF projects highlights that many countries view the sustainability of these systems as critical to their future development. In the context of marine and coastal resources, current GEF strategic programs for International Waters include restoring and sustaining coastal and marine fish stocks and associated biological diversity, and reducing nutrient over-enrichment and oxygen depletion from land-based pollution of coastal waters in Large Marine Ecosystems consistent with the Global Program of Action (GPA).
  • Global Ocean Observing System - GOOS is a permanent global system for observations, modelling and analysis of marine and ocean variables to support operational ocean services worldwide. GOOS is working with national agencies and regional networks to provide accurate descriptions of the present state of the oceans, including living resources, continuous forecasts of the future conditions of the sea for as far ahead as possible, and the basis for forecasts of climate change. (Lead: UNESCO / IOC)
  • Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment - The major threats to the health, productivity and biodiversity of the marine environment result from human activities on land - in coastal areas and further inland. Some 80% of the pollution load in the oceans originates from land-based activities. The GPA is designed to be a source of conceptual and practical guidance to be drawn upon by national and/or regional authorities for devising and implementing sustained action to prevent, reduce, control and/or eliminate marine degradation from land-based activities.
  • Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) -GESAMP is an expert group sponsored by several UN agencies that undertakes targeted scientific studies at the request of the agencies to provide technical advice on scientific aspects of prevention, reduction and control of the degradation of the marine environment to sustain its life support systems, resources and amenities. (Lead: IMO)
  • Protection of World Heritage marine sites - The 1972 World Heritage Convention unites 193 nations behind a shared commitment to preserve the world’s outstanding heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. The UNESCO World Heritage List includes about 50 World Heritage marine sites, including the Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Islands and iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Through cooperation with IMO, Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) have been designated to protect 7 World Heritage marine sites. Through cooperation with IOC, an ecosystem-based MSP approach is being applied in several sites. Through cooperation with CBD (CITES) efforts are undertaken to save critically endangered species that are of Outstanding Universal Value.
  • The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is a partnership among governments, international organizations, and non-government organizations. It strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems by implementing Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, and other relevant international conventions and agreements.
  • The Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects - The Regular Process, established by the General Assembly after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development aims to regularly review the environmental, economic and social aspects of the world’s oceans, both current and foreseeable. The Ad hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process has a mandate to oversee and guide the Regular Process. The outcome of the first cycle of the Regular Process, the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment was released in 2015, and welcomed with appreciation by the United Nations General Assembly, which approved its summary (A/70/112). The second cycle of the Regular Process covering the period 2016 to 2020 sets out two Outputs, namely, a second World Ocean Assessment(s) and Regular Process support for other ocean-related intergovernmental processes, including the preparation of Technical Abstracts specifically tailored to the requests and needs of the processes.
  • UN Atlas of the Oceans - The Atlas is an information system designed for use by policy makers who need to become familiar with ocean issues and by scientists, students and resource managers who need access to underlying data bases and approaches to sustainability. (Lead: FAO)
  • World Oceans Day - As a result of a United Nations General Assembly resolution passed in December 2008, the UN officially recognized World Oceans Day as June 8th each year. The concept for a “World Ocean Day” was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and it had been unofficially celebrated every year since then. Since 2002, The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network have helped to promote and coordinate World Oceans Day events worldwide through support to events and activities with aquariums, zoos, museums, conservation organizations, universities, schools, and businesses. Each year an increasing number of countries and organizations have been marking June 8th as an opportunity to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea.
Updated on: 29 June 2022