World Oceans Day takes place every 8 June. It has been celebrated unofficially since its original proposal in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Brundtland Commission, i.e. the World Commission on Environment and Development, provided the inspiration for a global oceans day.
The 1987 Brundtland Report noted that the ocean sector lacked a strong voice compared to other sectors. At the first World Oceans Day in 1992, the objectives were to move the oceans from the sidelines to the center of the intergovernmental and NGO discussions and policy and to strengthen the voice of ocean and coastal constituencies world wide.
The Ocean Project, working in partnership with leading organizations from all sectors, including the World Ocean Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and many others in its network of 2,000 organizations, has been promoting World Oceans Day since 2002 and together with World Ocean Network led a three-year global petition movement to secure official UN recognition. World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in late 2008.
World Oceans Day events are celebrated on 8 June, the closest weekend, the week, and the month of June. The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events. Youth have been playing an increasingly important role since 2015, including the development in 2016 of a World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council.