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Lighting FAO blue to mark World Oceans Day

Happy World Ocean Day!
FAO Headquarters lights up blue as a reminder of the importance of healthy seas and oceans.

World Oceans Day was an idea that arose at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and was adopted by a United Nations General Assembly Resolution in 2008.

It is celebrated each year on 8 June, and this year’s theme is “Our oceans, Our future.”

This year’s theme is apt, since our joint oceans and their future has been on the agenda all week at the UN Ocean Conference (#SaveourOcean) taking place in New York.

We have been following this event closely on our Blue Growth blog, and you can see daily wrap-up updates on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

On the agenda all week is the Sustainable Development Goal dedicated to Oceans: SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

This may be more challenging than we think. Pressure on our oceans and seas increases, illegal fishing and overfishing remain daunting challenges, and the presence of marine pollution, including microplastics, is on the rise. Both collective and individual actions are required to reverse this dangerous trend in order to ensure healthy seas and oceans for future generations.

Speaking in a video message, UN Director-General José Graziano da Silva noted that FAO will be illuminated blue for the first time “as a reminder of the importance of oceans and seas. They cover 70 percent of the surface of our planet, provide half the world's oxygen, and serve as home to 80 percent of life on earth.”

He also noted that fish provides 3 billion people around the world with at least 20 percent of their total animal protein intake.

And it is fitting that this ‘blueing’ will take place in Rome, the Fisheries and Aquaculture capital of the world. After all, it was at FAO Headquarters where many of the instruments that will help us achieve the objectives of SDG 14 came into being. "We are very proud that many of the key instruments designed to safeguard our oceans have been negotiated and adopted at FAO Headquarters," according to Graziano da Silva. “These include the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the FAO Port State Measures Agreement to tackle Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Small-Scale Fisheries.”

You can see the full video message here.

So for those of you in Rome, and those of you following this time-lapse video below that shows how FAO Headquarters in Rome will turn blue this evening, even from half a world away, enjoy our Blue FAO.

It serves as a celebration and a reminder of how important our seas and oceans are to maintaining  a healthy planet.

It is right that we celebrate this day once each year. But it is even more important that we all do our part to protect these oceans for the remaining 364 days a year.

Working together, we can achieve the objectives of SDG 14. It is up to us all to #SaveourOcean. We at Blue FAO wish a very Happy World Ocean Day to all!

The lights will go on at 21:00, following sunset
FAO hosts the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, which works closely with all issues related to SDG 14.
FAO Headquarters as seen from Circo Massimo. It is here at FAO Headquarters that all the major treaties and instruments to protect our oceans were negotiated and adopted.
The FAO Video unit and photographer hard at work capturing a blue FAO, even braving the Roman traffic to obtain better shots.
Happy World Ocean Day 2017!


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