World Oceans Day 2020
MOI in collaboration with the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping celebrates
WORLD OCEANS DAY 2020 'Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean'
When I gaze at the azure and pastel colours of the ocean from the Chairman’s office and the dancing waves that meet and merge before they crash against the rocks in swirling foams, I could not help praying for the ocean to stay pure, healthy, rich in resources and serene.
We have all read the suffering wake- up call and plea of the Ocean to Man… to stop their excessive and destructing fishing and their escalating abuse. Man has still to realize that our very survival depends on the protection and preservation of the ocean.
Everyone around the world has a role to play to find ocean solutions and the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) has a mission to acquire a better scientific understanding of the different facets of the marine environment within our territory.
Obtaining a database using different innovative tools on the biological, chemical, physical and biotechnical parameters of our ocean territory and their interpretation are key for proposing to the government a sustainable development approach for a sound blue economy. Maybe the solution to address the COVID-19 problem rests in the ocean. This is precisely what scientists are exploring at the MOI in a collaborative venture.
To survive and prosper, we need healthy oceans which is the planet’s life support system. Keeping our ocean in good health demands sustained collaboration of scientists and all stakeholders, including local, regional and international. The MOI has set the stage for such a collaboration. The ongoing GMES-Africa Project is one such example where the latest technology and techniques are being adopted for maritime and coastal observations to connect science with policy.
Our security, our economy, our very survival all require healthy oceans. Next year is the beginning of the UN decade of Ocean Science for sustainable development from 2021 to 2030. Let all of us, islanders team up and develop Blue minds and Blue attitudes and become guardians of Neptune’s world to prevent us from drowning.
In 2009, the UN designated the 8th of June as the World Oceans Day (WOD) in recognition of the manifold contributions of the ocean to the society and to highlight the considerable challenges humanity is facing in the safekeeping of the benefits provided by the oceans.
In the very same year, the MOI started celebrating the WOD with the organization of a National Science Forum, followed over the years by beach and lagoon clean ups, sensitization programs, inauguration of its new research facility at Albion, open days and multi institutional exhibits/displays/talks.
The theme of UN World Oceans Day 2020 is ‘Innovation for a sustainable Ocean’. Science, technology and innovative approaches are crucial for a sustainable ocean economy and addressing food security, as besides climate change and ocean acidification, the current pandemic of COVID-19 is likely to further exacerbate food security challenges. Hence there is a dire need to foster innovative solutions for our oceans
This year World oceans Day is being celebrated by millions of people under global sanitary conditions and will take place as a virtual event mostly everywhere. Hence the MOI is celebrating this year’s event by the display on its website of a series of posters of projects being undertaken by the Institute for the advancement of the Blue Economy as well as contributing towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (e.g., SDG 14: Life Below Water). The posters are downloadable and may be used for educational purposes. We are also going down memory lane by including a compilation of past celebrations of the WOD by the Institute
Today is the day when we remind ourselves else of the major role the oceans have in our everyday life. Today, we stop and take a moment from our busy schedules to honour, protect, and conserve the world’s oceans.
When Dr Sylvia Earle, the famous oceanographer, was asked ‘If you had one thought, or one lesson, that you could instill in people about the ocean, what would that be?’ She said: ‘Take care of the ocean as if your life depends on it, because it does’.
Let us work together to create a sustainable ocean not only for the present generation but of the generations to come.
Happy World Oceans Day
Dr Ruby Moothien Pillay
Going down memory lane- Compilation of past celebrations of the WOD