The United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day every year on June 8. As part of the celebrations, the Office of Legal Affairs, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea organizes and hosts a reception at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, where the Secretary-General’s Annual World Oceans Day Message is delivered and the winners of the Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition are announced. The Director, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea and honorary Master of Ceremonies, Ms. Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, welcomed over 150+ guests who attended the World Oceans Day ceremony.
Welcoming remarks were delivered by Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, followed by Mr. David Gely, Blancpain US Brand President, who addressed the crowd about the brand’s long-standing commitment to the Ocean and its ongoing partnership with the United Nations.
Blancpain first became involved in the celebration of World Oceans Day in 2013 when the brand sponsored “Oceans”, a brilliant underwater photographic exhibition at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This exhibit, which was visited by more than 100,000 people, highlighted the ecological and economic importance of healthy oceans and the need to protect their fragile ecology and submarine life. The exhibition featured photographs by sixteen widely renowned photographers whose work is featured in Edition Fifty Fathoms, the brand’s exclusive yearly publication dedicated to the underwater world.
This year, for the first time in history, the traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe from the Pacific, H?k?le’a, arrived at the United Nations timed for the World Oceans Day festivities. In his message, distinguished speaker, Nainoa Thompson, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Master Navigator of the H?k?le’a shared first-hand stories of the state of the ocean and presented declarations and commitments to action entrusted to H?k?le’a during her voyage from the UN Secretary General, world leaders and communities.
As has become custom, the Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition winners were announced. Special guest and multiple time contest winner, Ellen Cuylaerts announced the winners of the 2015 photo competition. The photo contest, which is an open and free photo competition, seeks to inspire the creation and dissemination of such positive imagery, conveying the beauty and importance of the ocean and humankind’s relation to it. The evening concluded with live entertainment by Hawaiian Serenaders & Dancers and special musical performance by famous American singer-songwriter, Jack Johnson who was joined on stage by Paula Fuga, Chucky Boy Chock and Brother Nolan. Each year on the evening of World Oceans Day, the Empire State Building is lit in the World Oceans Day colors of white, blue and purple, representing the different layers of the ocean. World Oceans Day 2016 was a truly special one. Blancpain was honored to be part of the annual World Ocean Day celebration and privileged to have the opportunity to continue to flourish its ties with the United Nations and actively raise awareness around this important cause.
Blancpain has been active in the ocean ever since the brand presented the first modern diving watch, the Fifty Fathoms, in 1953. In recognition of this heritage, Blancpain is dedicated to the cause of ocean preservation and protection, and has worked to raise awareness of these issues through support of important scientific projects, ocean exploration initiatives, underwater photography, environmental forums, public exhibits, major publications and a dedicated web site. The brand's efforts in all of these areas are expressed globally as Blancpain’s Ocean Commitment.
About World Oceans Day
The official designation of World Oceans Day was commenced in 2009 by the United Nations as an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.