Origin of "World Oceans Day" and "National Oceans Day"
The ocean accounts for about 72% of the earth's area. It is the origin and sustenance of all life. Whether or not it's transportation, fishing, resource development or climate regulation, it's very closely related to human life. In recent years, over-exploitation of the oceans, destructive fishing practices and marine pollution - land-based pollution in particular - has destroyed sensitive marine ecosystems. Furthermore, global warming has caused sea levels to rise, posing a serious threat to islands and coastal areas.
In order to raise the awareness of protection and sustainable use of the oceans and seas, the United Nations adopted Resolution No.111 during the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly on 5 Dec, 2008. Commencing from 2009, June 8th was designated as the "World Ocean Day." The UN hopes that the world will take this opportunity to pay tribute to the oceans, which all humankind depend on for survival. Furthermore, the World Ocean Day calls for all to understand the profound value of the oceans and carefully examine the issues such as global pollution and over-consumption of fish stocks.
Taiwan's “Ocean Basic Act” was promulgated on November 20, 2019. The act is in reference to the United Nation’s spirit of designating this day every year as World Oceans Day starting in 2009. Article 18 of the Ocean Basic Act explicitly stipulates: “In order to promote the deepening of the marine awareness of the government and all walks of life, June 8 is specifically designated as National Oceans Day.” The Ocean Affairs Council (OAC) organized the first “National Oceans Day celebration activities” on June 8 of 2020 in Kaohsiung City and published the Nation Ocean Policy White Paper, which discloses policy objectives in six major aspects, including the government’s active promotion of “building a regional strategic mindset and safeguarding marine sovereign rights” within five years. In coordination with 14 ministries, the OAC has actively formulated and executed 21 strategies, including “closely monitoring the international pulse,” with many policies gradually demonstrating the expected results. Hopefully, with the all-hands cooperation of citizens and the government, Taiwan will gradually become a “Maritime Nation” where the vision of “ecological sustainability, maritime security and industry prosperity” can be fulfilled.