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World Oceans Day 2015: Ocean’s vital role in climate system

The ocean is as important as forests for the regulation of the Earth’s climate, yet international climate negotiations have not paid nearly enough attention to it. UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the Ocean and Climate Platform will dedicate this year’s edition of World Ocean Day on 8 June to the interaction between ocean and climate, just a few months ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in December.

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, will launch the programme for the Day with Gilles Boeuf, Director of the Paris Museum of Natural History, and Lisa Svensson, Sweden’s Ambassador for Ocean, Sea and Fresh Water, at UNESCO Headquarters. The event will bring together scientists, policy makers and representatives of civil society, to draw attention to the impact of the ocean as a major provider of oxygen and a climate regulator, and to mobilize the support of the international community for sustainable ocean management.

Four round tables will bring together climate experts, oceanographers, social scientists as well as representatives of several organizations that are part of the Ocean and Climate Platform. Discussions will focus on ocean acidification, the socioeconomic impacts of climate change, the ocean as a source of eco-innovation and citizen commitment, and the place of the ocean in climate negotiations.


Meanwhile, a UNESCO Campus* on the environmental threats facing the oceans will bring together students studying a wide range of subjects, to develop an action plan and recommendations concerning the ocean and climate change that they will submit to policy makers at the end of the day.

A press conference will take place at 12.30 p.m. (Room IX). This will be followed by three round table debates: the ocean in the climate system; impacts of a changing climate on the ocean and society; and ocean governance. During the afternoon, the experts will also examine the recommendations made by the UNESCO Campus.

At the end of the Day, the participants will present a joint appeal addressed negotiators preparing COP21 to several  political leaders taking part in the event, including Prince Albert II of Monaco; the President of Palao, Tommy Remengesau; the Vice President of the Seychelles, Danny Faure; the Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart and France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius.

Launched jointly in 2014 by research organizations, nongovernmental bodies and UNESCO’s IOC, the Ocean and Climate Platform brings together French and international actors: scientific organizations, universities, research institutes, associations, foundations, civil society, business, national and intergovernmental organizations. It aims to promote the ocean’s crucial role for the future of the planet and to ensure this message is heard in international negotiations.

COP 21 will  take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015, with the aim of reaching a new international agreement to limit global warming to less than 2°C.


Journalists who wish to cover the event require accreditation.

Media contact: Isabelle Le Fournis, UNESCO Press Service

Tel :+33 (0) 1 45 68 17 48,

World Oceans Day brochure

More about the Ocean and Climate Platform

Contact for the Platform



* This UNESCO Campus is one of several thematic conference organised by UNESCO in partnership with the Fondation GDF-Suez. It is organized by UNESCO IOC with the Fondation Surfrider Europe, Tara Expéditions and the  CNRS