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A festival for the oceans

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor

THE United Nations Environment Programme/Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP/CEP) will collaborate with the Institute of Caribbean Studies to launch the third annual Caribbean Sea Fan Festival online on June 8.

And for what? World Oceans Day 2016.

"We aim to raise awareness and showcase the work of the wider Caribbean Region on ocean-related projects and activities. We invited the member countries/focal points of the Cartagena Convention to submit information, which we intend to present on social media," said UNEP/CEP in response to Gleaner queries.

"We collaborated with Dr. Claire Nelson, the founder and president for the Institute of Caribbean Studies, based in Washington, DC last year to showcase projects, activities, stories, videos, etc for World Oceans Day and although our funding is limited this year, we are still trying to highlight best practices," the entity added.

"Similarly, there are many ongoing and new initiatives making a difference in this regard within Jamaica and the world and through this collective effort, the health of our oceans can be better sustained," it said further.

According to CARIBSAVE who is to supply content to UNEP/CEP on their work in the Caribbean for the festival World Oceans Day is an opportunity for advocacy and awareness raising that should not be missed.


Marine conservation


"We do a lot of work in marine conservation. Our own theme for this year is 'Healthy seas, happy people' and it really matches what we are doing," said partnerships manager Heather Pinnock.

"We are making a specific point of people because so many of our people rely on oceans. In fact, our entire economy relies on seas for two reasons for food and for our tourism," she added.

UNEP/CEP has itself noted the invaluable opportunity the day presents to foster a correction of the ills impacting the Earth's oceans.

"The UN designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans, and be part of the solutions.

"Though the ocean covers 71per cent of the Earth and provides us with resources for our livelihood, it is highly undervalued and we need to change this outlook," it said.

"As expressed by A. Isakower, World Oceans Day coordinator, 'the ocean is the heart of our planet, and like your heart pumping blood through your body, the ocean connects all people across our planet'.

"We should remain committed to ensure that this resource is preserved for future generations," UNEP/CEP added.