8th June was designated officially as World Oceans Day by the United Nations following paragraph 171 of its resolution 63/111 on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. This celebration has been held annually under a different thematic and the theme of this year’s celebrations was "Revitalization - Collective Action for the Ocean". The IOI joined the rest of the ocean community in celebrating World Oceans Day and, as usual, the global IOI network responded enthusiastically to the invitation to commemorate this day by organising a diverse range of scientific, social and cultural activities. Thanks go to all the contributors for the organisation of events and for supplying photos. Please read on to see how World Oceans Day was celebrated by the IOI network worldwide. All photos courtesy of IOI Centres and Focal Points.
BRAZIL: Celebrations for World Oceans Day, which coincides with the Oceanographer Day in Brazil, included several activities at local, national and regional levels. Locally, the usual ‘open door’ activities took place, with a number of thematic conferences and seminars being held alongside the oceanography courses. At national level, IOI Brazil participated in the Marina Week activities, led by Dr A Turra, head of the UNESCO Professorship on Ocean Sustainability. At a regional level, many of the lecturers of the IOI TC LAC presented conferences at the I CONGRESO DE RELACIONES INTERNACIONALES “EL OCÉANO UNA TAREA DE TODOS” organised by UN/Peru and the University of Applied Sciences
CANADA: After a two-year COVID hiatus, IOI Canada was excited to hold its first in-person event again with the 2022 Elisabeth Mann Borgese Ocean Lecture. Organised in celebration of IOI’s 50th anniversary, this event took place at Dalhousie University on 19th May. Read more…
PR CHINA: IOI China, in collaboration with host institute NMDIS, held an activity titled "Ocean Science in Schools", bringing the online lecture "Love the Beautiful Ocean" to primary school students. More than 2,000 teachers and students attended the live broadcast. A lecture on marine science was also delivered to the students of Tianjin Vocational and Technical University with the theme “Protecting the Marine Ecosystem" explaining the importance of protecting marine ecology from 4 aspects: "Blue Origin", "Generous Gift", "The Death of the Ocean" and "Protecting the Ocean".
The China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Countries Training Course on Marine Information Technologies, 23 May - 2 June, was also held, online, with a total of 18 participants. More than 10 experts and scholars were invited to lecture on ocean data processing and management, ocean big data technology research and its application, and marine economic statistics among others.
COSTA RICA: Two activities were held by IOI Costa Rica to mark World Oceans Day. Firstly, Dr José Mauro Vargas Hernández, Director IOI Costa Rica, , was invited as a speaker, in a three-day series of face-to-face talks organised by Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA), in collaboration with other partners, at Omar Dengo Campus (Heredia) and at the Marine Science Station (ECMAR). The main objective of these talks was to discuss outcomes of various works carried out by organisations and the coastal communities, problems, solutions and challenges, while reflecting on communal experiences, so as to improve the quality of life of the coastal population of the country. Furthermore, Alejandro Gutiérrez, former Director IOI Costa Rica, published an informative article, in the UNA website news section, titled “World Ocean Day: A Space for the economy of the future”
EGYPT: On the 15th June, the webinar organised by IOI Egypt started with a welcome speech delivered by Antonella Vassallo, Managing Director, IOI HQ followed by a lecture by Dr Awni Behnam, Honorary President IOI, on the Blue Economy. Professor Michael Elliott from the Department of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Hull, UK, spoke about the Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. Other distinguished speakers delivered talks on related topics. Questions and Answers followed, conducted by Dr Lamiaa Mohamedein, IOI Egypt Centre Director. 200 participants from 26 different authorities participated in this webinar which generated a lot of feedback and interest in the subjects presented, post event.
A workshop was also organised at Hamed Gohar Great Theatre in the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, NIOF, Suez Branch, 28th June, with 63 participants from various NIOF branches attending. The welcoming speeches were delivered by Prof Ahmed Abel Halim, Director of NIOF Suez Branch; Engineer Asmaa Makhlouf, President of the new Suez city (New Urban Communities) and Dr Enam Mogahed, Director of Suez and South Saini branch. Lectures were conducted by distinguished professors on the following topics: plastic litter and its impact on the marine environment; Climate change; Carbon Footprint in Coastal Cities; Renewable Energy Future in Coastal Cities; Reduction of Fish Hazards.
GERMANY: Young marine scientists from ZMT (Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, IOI Germany’s host institute) replied to the question: “What can we do to protect our oceans?” in a video prepared for World Oceans Day speaking about what we can do in our daily lives to safeguard our oceans.
Senior researcher Sebastian Ferse was interviewed by a regional TV station on the future of the reefs as input for a round table with World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and others. An op-ed, by Raimund Bleischwitz from IOI Germany, on a plastic treaty, was
published in around ten newspapers world-wide. ZMT also participated in AANChOR (All AtlaNtic Cooperation for Ocean Research and Innovation), 2nd Mangrove Future Das in Berlin, the 15th International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen (ICRS 2022), a Summer School with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Senegal on “A mathematical modelling perspective on ecology, biodiversity and blue economy”, and with a session at the UN Ocean Conference Lisbon.
IR IRAN: In collaboration with the Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Science (INIOAS), IOI IR Iran organised an online session on Ocean Governance on the 7th June for Iranian Marine experts and students. The event was opened by a welcoming speech from Dr Mortaza Tavakoli, Director of INIOAS, and a video message from the President of IOI, Dr Mahin Faghfouri. Topics covered in the by invited expert speakers, included: Necessities of teaching ocean governance at Universities; Political dimension of marine space; Ocean Governance in Islamic Republic of Iran.
Food security and Ocean Governance. Other activities held included, a beach clean-up in Chabahar; Workshop for School Teachers on "Knowledge of Oceanography, tools, sampling and analysis methods", Nowshahr; two workshops for School Teachers on "Knowledge of Oceanography", in Bushehrand and Hormozgan province; Session on Microplastics in Marine Environment (Online).
MALTA: Prof Alan Deidun, Director IOI Malta, organised two events in collaboration with the CORALLO project partners, (i.e., the University of Malta, host institute of IOI Malta Centre, the ERA and Heritage Malta) and the International Ocean Institute. The first took place at the Presidential Palace, Malta. Read more here.
The second event, on the 17th July, a national ocean literacy competition, was open to all students aged 5 to 16, with the aim of fostering greater awareness within the younger generation of the living and geological assets endowing Maltese Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as well as promoting sustainable recreational activities within the same protected areas. Submissions were received within three different categories – videos, photographs and artistic models – depicting aspects of the Għar Lapsi - Filfla coastline as well as of the MPA extending along the north-east coastline from St. Julian’s to the north Gozitan coast. The award presentation ceremony was held at the Malta National Aquarium and was attended by representatives from the three CORALLO project Maltese partners as well as from the International Ocean Institute. All student competition submissions are exhibited publicly through the project website.
NIGERIA: IOI Nigeria organised two main activities: a hybrid public lecture on the8th June focusing on three thematic areas of ocean governance: Blue Economy, Marine Technology Transfer and Marine Pollution, and a beach clean-up at Marwa Beach, Oniru, Lagos, which also served as an awareness raising event, highlighting the problems of plastic pollution and marine debris in the marine environment. The members of the Marwa community and the volunteers were also shown examples on upcycling plastics for furniture, ornaments and gardening and ways of generating income from various forms of waste for employment and empowerment.
THAILAND: IOI Thailand, in collaboration with host institute, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, co-organized a series of activities at Patong Beach, Phuket. The activities consisted of a Marine and Coastal environment exhibition, talks on marine endangered species rescue, and a rehabilitated turtle release activity . A memorandum of understanding ceremony was also held between the government and private sector linked to five main rivers in the upper gulf of Thailand which aims to minimize the flow of plastic debris into the ocean. This operation is expected to expand to other areas in order to prevent further marine debris entering the ecosystem.
IOI FOCAL POINTS
CYPRUS: The IOI Focal Point for Cyprus, Prof Nicholas Kathijotes, was invited as a guest speaker in Cherating, Pahang, Malaysia, for the hybrid 10th Asian Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies, AcE-Bs2022. The Conference focused on Environment-Behaviour issues affecting the Asian/African/Arabian communities in both their countries and the World. Offered as part of the World Ocean Day celebrations, the topic of Dr Kathijiotes’ presentation was “Collective Action Towards Clean and Sustainable Seas - A Blue Economy Approach” bringing up for discussion the great issue of Ocean protection in this critical region of the World. The presentation introduced issues such
as marine pollution, algae and jellyfish blooms, and invasive species. Furthermore, steps towards achieving a Blue Economy were explained, including the circular economy and methods for collection and handling or recycling of marine plastics, aquatic biomass (algae) as a source of biofuel, and managing jellyfish blooms. The presentation of Professor Kathijotes was followed by a fruitful and constructive discussion, with the participants expressing their views and ideas on the issue. Conference excursions visited Rimbun Dahan Turtle Conservation Hatchery and the Chendor Turtle Sanctuary which is a tribute to the gentle giants of the South Seas, the near-extinct Leatherback turtles, that made Chendor Beach their destination of choice to lay their eggs.
A Beach Clean-Up Campaign was also launched with a programme of clean-ups over several days in Cyprus between June and September, focussing on different popular beaches.
INDONESIA: A webinar was held in June by IOI Focal Point in Indonesia, titled: How to Maintain Coral Ecosystem in Tourism. The aim of this event was to share information and knowledge, to local tourist guides, on coral conservation to help create more awareness among the tourists, who come to enjoy the ocean beauty, on conservation of coral reefs.
JAPAN: A zoom meeting was held on the 8th June where participants shared very interesting reports on Integrated Coastal Management (ICM). Another activity was held on the 25th of June which included a beach/seabed cleaning event in Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture, held in collaboration with Gamagori City and Japan Justice Inc. A short video clip was prepared by Antonella Vassallo, Managing Director, IOI HQ, and Cosmin Chivu, Project Officer IOI HQ, for the students in Gamagori, during the zoom meeting accompanying this event.
MALAYSIA: As in previous years the Focal Point in Malaysia, Sitti Raehanah M Shaleh, in collaboration of the host institute Universiti Malaysia Sabah and other partners, Borneo Marine Research Institute, Coral Triangle Initiative Sabah Branch, co-hosted an extensive one-month Ocean Celebrations, the annual World Oceans Day, Coral Triangle Day and World Sea Turtle Day. Various activities held included beach cleaning, webinars, art competitions and many more. For videos and other information on the events visit their Ocean Celebration page on Facebook.
PHILIPPINES: The IOI Focal Point in the Philippines, Ambassador Jesus S Domingo, visited the New Zealand National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), meeting NIWA Scientist, Mr Kevin Mackay, to discuss the conservation and protection of our oceans, to explore collaborations between IOI, the Philippines and New Zealand. Watch the video of the meeting which includes a discussion of NIWA's recent expedition to Tonga, to investigate its recent underwater volcanic explosion.
Furthermore, the Diplomatic League, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs' Youth Engagement Platform, held an online dialogue with Filipino student leaders, moderated by Amb Domingo. The dialogue featured young leaders speaking on their experiences in ocean and maritime advocacies.
SRI LANKA: The IOI focal point in Sri Lanka, and the Director of the local IOI Ocean Academy, Dr Aruna Maheepala, along with host institute the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) – Kalpitiya Regional research station and fishers’ cooperative, organized a beach clean-up activity at Kalpitiya (Puthlum fishery District) fish landing site used by small-scale fishers. Bins were provided to the fishers who agreed to maintain and use in a sustainable manner to sort garbage for recycling and to prevent disposal into the environment . Dr Prabath Jayasinghe (head Kalpitiya Regional Station) and Mr Nuwan Tharanga helped coordinate the event.
USA: An online workshop consisting of a set of sessions centred around marine life was organised by USA Focal Point Director, Frank Muller-Karger, in collaboration with the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS/Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) and the GOOS Co-Design Programme, endorsed by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, addressing Challenges 2, 7 and 9 of the 10 Ocean Decade Challanges. An expected outcome of this collaboration will be a fundamental space/time forecasting and prediction capability for marine life distributions, including nowcast, seasonal and climate forecasts, and what-if scenario simulations. Such simulations will allow stakeholders to evaluate overlapping ocean uses such as fishing, energy, mining, and conservation planning, including dynamic management areas that change in size and protection over time.