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Our Oceans, Our Future

The Virtual Center on the Activities of International Organizations has been presenting the virtual book exhibition "Our Oceans, Our Future" since June 8 on the NLB portal. The exhibition is dedicated to the World Oceans Day.

This Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on December 5, 2008 (resolution 63/111) and has been celebrated annually on June 8 since 2009.

The purpose of this Day is to draw attention to the problems of the oceans, to emphasize its key role in the development of humankind, to inform the public about the impact of people on the oceans, to increase public awareness of the potential, wealth and beauty of the underwater world.

Oceans occupy three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 percent of water reserves and occupy 99 percent of the entire planet’s volume. The world's oceans with their temperature, chemical processes, currents and life determine the action of global systems that make the Earth suitable for human life. Rain and drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, most of our food, and even the oxygen in the air that we breathe are ultimately provided and regulated by the oceans. Oceans and seas have been vital trade and freight routes throughout the history. The rational use of this critical global resource is the key for a sustainable future.

The health of the planet depends on the state of the oceans. Humanity will not be able to eradicate poverty, achieve global food security and economic progress unless it stops the process of degradation and pollution of the seas and oceans. The scale of plastic pollution of the oceans has increased tenfold over the past four decades. Dead zones, underwater deserts where life is impossible due to the lack of oxygen, are rapidly expanding. Over one third of all fish stocks are exploited today. Coastal habitats are overexposed, about twenty percent of the world's coral reefs are lost. About one million seabirds, hundreds of thousands of marine mammals and countless fish die annually as a result of plastic waste contamination.

Expressing serious concern over the situation, the UN is making enormous efforts to solve the problems associated with the oceans.

The UN member states adopted “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in September 2015. It consists of 17 main Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development were included in Goal 14. The Ocean Conference entitled “Our Ocean, Our Future” took place in June 2017 at the UN headquarters in New York to support Sustainable Development Goal 14. The conference resulted in the adoption of an intergovernmental declaration in the form of a “Call to Action” to assist in achieving the Goal 14. A list of state obligations were included there to preserve sustainable use of the World Ocean. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/72/73), which proclaimed 2021–2030 as the UN Decade on Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Our virtual exhibition presents documents on oceans, including international legal acts on the law of the sea, encyclopedias and reference books on the ocean and its inhabitants, research materials, monographs that provide information on the study and development of the deep sea, popular science literature on sea voyages, textbooks on the history and geography of the seas and oceans.

These documents will tell about the processes taking place in the oceans and introduce the reader to the international system of measures and regulations aimed at ensuring the safety of maritime navigation and the protection of the marine environment and its inhabitants. These documents will help to draw the attention of the general public to the global problem of the World Ocean safety, to deepen understanding of the issues of its study and use, as well as to increase awareness of the ecological situation on our planet.

The virtual exhibition presents 50 documents from the library collections in Russian and English: books, brochures, booklets. A bibliographic description, annotation, and a pdf file with a table of contents are given for each document. Some of the documents are hyperlinks to the full texts in the UNESDOC (UNESCO Digital Library of Documents and Publications).

The exposition includes the following thematic sections:

  • The Great and Mysterious Ocean
  • Exploring and Reclamation of the World Ocean Oceanography
  • Geography, Physics, Chemistry and Geology of the World Ocean
  • Maritime Law International Maritime Organization (IMO) Activities
  • The Ocean-Atmosphere System Oceans and Climate Change. Sustainable Development of Oceans and Seas

Students and graduate students of environmental, biological and geographical specialties, scientists, oceanologists, sailors, biologists, experts in the field of marine law, environmental management and environmental protection, as well as anyone interested in the research of the sea depths and the problems of oceans and seas are target group of the exhibition.

You can use the Electronic Document Delivery Service to obtain digital copies and fragments of the documents presented at the exhibition.

For more info: (8 017) 293 27 34.

The virtual exhibition has been prepared by the employees of the Official Documents Service Department.