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International Development

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2023 4th National Oceans Day Online Exhibition
Date:2023-07-06
Unit:Department of Science, Technology, Culture & Education

Taiwan is a maritime nation, and the ocean is encoded in the DNA of the Taiwanese people. The ocean covers 72% of the Earth's surface, as seen from a terrestrial perspective. However, from the viewpoint of the universe, our planet that nurtures life is primarily composed of the ocean. The ocean is also the mother of all life on Earth. Safeguarding the ocean is an essential duty that humanity cannot evade.

The United Nations has designated June 8th as "World Oceans Day" since 2009, and in 2019, our country established the “Ocean Basic Act”, designating June 8th each year as "National Oceans Day." This year, the United Nations World Oceans Day theme is "Planet Ocean: Tides are changing", which carries two meanings. First, the tides are changing, signifying that the ocean is now a mainstream topic on our oceanic planet - this is the new trend. Second, it serves as a warning to ourselves that as the tides change, if we do not protect the ocean, our lives will change along with them. Therefore, the Ocean Affairs Council has set the theme for the fourth National Oceans Day as “Ocean Planet - Rising into the Mainstream”, which is closely linked to and echoes the United Nations World Oceans Day theme. We call on everyone to acknowledge the evolving ocean environment and ecological issues, and we hope that together, we can demonstrate our determination and work hand in hand to make the belief in ocean protection a mainstream value in Taiwan.

The main visual for this year's National Oceans Day is “Rising Humpback Whale + Rising Sun”. Every winter to early spring, Humpback whales migrate north along the Kuroshio Current, passing through Taiwan. There have been numerous sightings in the nearby waters. There are three reasons for choosing the Humpback whale as the main visual: 1. The impressive pectoral fins resemble wings and can reach up to one-third of the whale's body length, giving the impression of soaring through the ocean; 2. Adult male Humpback whales are known for their beautiful and diverse whale songs, making them the "singers" of the sea, akin to poets. This aligns well with the musical aspect of the Ocean Day event; 3. Leaping from the sea. The image of a Humpback whale breaching and crashing back into the waves is deeply ingrained in our hearts. Paired with the rising sun in the background, it symbolizes the ocean's powerful life force. The moment of joy and beauty seems to freeze as the whale rises above the ocean surface. Therefore, the Ocean Affairs Council has chosen the Humpback whale as the ambassador for the fourth National Oceans Day. The awareness of ocean protection aims to become a rising mainstream value in Taiwan.

This year's National Oceans Day theme,” Ocean Planet - Rising into the Mainstream”, along with the imagery of the Humpback whale breaching the surface, carries significant implications in the contemporary context. It aligns with the progress of ocean governance. Through the efforts of the Ocean Conservation Administration and the Ocean Affairs Council, the amendment to the "Marine Pollution Control Act" has been passed with a third reading. This amendment not only imposes heavy penalties and strict punishments but also includes measures for pollution prevention and control at the source. It marks a milestone in ocean protection, and we can anticipate the beginning of a year focused on a cleaner ocean. Furthermore, in response to the promotion of the “Marine Conservation Act” draft, the Ocean Affairs Council has convened discussions involving 22 offshore wind power industry stakeholders. Multiple conflicting interests exist in the utilization of marine spaces, and the process of industry development inevitably involves unforeseeable challenges. Whether it is the establishment of marine protected areas or the declaration of restricted activities, the existence of the "Marine Conservation Act draft" does not aim to eliminate industries but seeks consensus under effective and viable legal regulations. This is one of the important missions of the draft of the “Marine Conservation Act”.

All of these efforts must be built on the foundation of the draft of the "Marine Conservation Act" being legislatively passed. The legislative process depends on a collaborative effort among all groups that have diverse values and interests related to the ocean. They must become partners and work together to protect the ocean. Amidst the conflicts and debates, they can collectively contribute to the sustainable development of Taiwan's oceans and establish a new order. Communication with the academic community has already commenced. While reaching an ideal legislative standard in a short period may not be feasible, accepting a practical and workable legislative version is a steady step toward marine conservation. Finally, engagement with environmental organizations is ongoing. The Ocean Affairs Council is committed to continuous efforts and hopes to progress step by step. The goal is to create an ocean conservation law that may not be ideal but can gradually take shape through profound discussions and consensus-building with various stakeholders.

The fourth National Oceans Day in 2023 will take place from June 8th to June 10th at the Kaohsiung Music Center's Hi-Ing Music Hall. The event includes many activities such as ocean-themed exhibitions, the "Ocean Planet - Rising into the Mainstream" concert, the biennial "Hai An Drill", and open ship tours of Coast Guard vessels. This event offers a unique and diverse opportunity for everyone. It's not only enjoyable but also educational. You are encouraged to gather in Kaohsiung and participate in National Oceans Day, where you can experience the sea, learn about the sea, and nurture your love for the ocean.

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  • Update: 2024-03-14
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