World Ocean Day 2023

Happy World Oceans Day 2023. This year’s theme is Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing. It is time to put the Ocean First. This is a timely reminder that the fate of our oceans lies in our hands. It is high time we prioritise the preservation of these invaluable ecosystems.

As we explore the depths of our oceans, our attention is captivated by one of nature’s most awe-inspiring wonders: coral reefs, often referred to as the rainforests of the sea. These vibrant and teeming ecosystems are a testament to the astounding diversity found in our planet’s oceans. However, an ecosystem that first appeared almost 500 million years ago is in peril.

Covering less than 1% of the Earth’s surface, coral reefs support an astonishing quarter of all known marine life, yet the unfortunate reality is that these precious habitats are facing unprecedented destruction at an alarming rate. The combination of the climate crisis and various local anthropogenic stressors, such as land-based pollution, sedimentation, overharvesting, and illegal activities, pose imminent threats to the survival of coral reefs and the interconnected ecosystems they sustain.

The significance of coral reefs cannot be overstated, as they provide numerous invaluable benefits to humanity. They serve as crucial sources of food, medicine, coastal protection, and cultural and spiritual inspiration. Additionally, they form the foundation of countless livelihoods worldwide, providing economic goods and services worth around $375 billion per annum. Unless we change our trajectory, we stand to lose these irreplaceable underwater cities.

Faced with these threats at global and local scales, coral reefs require global concerted efforts with all major stakeholders to ensure their survival. It is in this context; the International Coral Reef Initiative plays a vital role. ICRI is an intergovernmental partnership that strives to promote the conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world. Through knowledge exchange, research, and policy development, ICRI aims to protect and restore coral reefs while enhancing the well-being of coastal communities dependent on these ecosystems.

ICRI, currently chaired by the United States of America, is implementing its Plan of Action: 2021 – 2024 – Turning the Tide for Coral Reefs. The comprehensive plan encompasses four key themes that underscore the urgent need for action.

Together we can protect life beneath the waves and safeguard our oceans for future generations to witness their marvels.

Learn more about the UN World Oceans Day 2023, and register to an incredible array of speakers here:

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