United Nations World Oceans Day 2020: Innovation For A Sustainable Ocean

Oceanic Global is the official non-profit and production partner to the United Nations for World Oceans Day 2019, 2020 and 2021 events & celebrations.

Since its inception in 2008, United Nations World Oceans Day has celebrated the ocean and its importance to the planet and our lives, while raising awareness about the many threats it faces via in-person assembly at the United Nations Headquarters. In 2020, Oceanic Global was honored to take the celebration virtual, bringing together more than 350,000 people through a live event – the most well-attended ocean event in history.

Oceanic Global is honored to continue the celebration in 2021, presenting a day of programming centered around The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods


On Monday, June 8, 2020, the first-ever fully digital rendition of its annual United Nations World Oceans Day event celebrated the 2020 theme, Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean. While traditionally an invitation-only event at the United Nations Headquarters capped at just 500 attendees, the 2020 celebration was open to the global public for the first time in history via live web-stream on UNWorldOceansDay.com and social media channels.


As the challenges to the ocean continue to grow, so does the need for novel solutions and the people driving them. The day-long 2020 event featured 43 international speakers over seven hours of content. Touching on wide-reaching topics relating to the Innovation For A Sustainable Ocean theme, keynote speeches, panels, and presentations were kicked off by the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, with leading ocean voices featured throughout the day. The event closed with a virtual concert for the ocean featuring global voices such as Mali’s Fatoumata Diawara, Niger’s Bombino, and the UK’s Jess Glynne.


350,000 people from 191 global regions tuned in day-of to watch the livestream, making UN World Oceans Day 2020 one of the most well-attended ocean summits in history. Featuring leading cross-generational ocean voices like Jaden Smith, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Fautoumata Diawara, Alessandra Ambrosio, Fabien Cousteau, Cody Simpson, and Cara Delevingne, the event campaign video amassed over 650,000 views ahead of the event, with partner social media support reaching 61.2 million users.



The full recording of Innovation For A Sustainable Ocean is available as a permanent resource.




Looking for a specific segment or speaker? Shortened segments by topic are available at the link below.






    High-level speakers will open UN World Oceans Day with remarks on the 2020 theme “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”.

    • H.E. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
    • H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the General Assembly
Cara Jocelyn Delevingne, Actress, Model & Co-Founder, EcoResolution

    Speakers will provide an overview of the state of the ocean and highlight the inter-linkages of the problems we face, as well as opportunities we can harness.

    • Sylvia Earle, President & Chair, Mission Blue Bill Joao
    • Bill McKibben, Co-Founder, 350.org
João Miguel Ferreira de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs & United Nations Legal Counsel

    This segment spotlights current projects offering innovative solutions that address the themes of the eight interactive dialogues of the 2020 UN Ocean Conference.

    • Peter Thomson, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean
    • Moderator:
    • Lucy Biggers, Climate and Sustainability Correspondent, NowThis

    Featured Spotlight Solutions:

    • Francis Zoet, Co-Founder & Director of Operations, The Great Bubble Barrier
    • Ahmad “Aki” Allahgholi, Founder & Managing Director, Coralive
    • Olivier Ceberio, COO and Co-Founder, Resolute Marine
    • Michael Selden, Co-Founder & CEO, Finless Foods
    • Bigs Eggert & Jossie Jasmin, Sales and Marketing Director of Amun Ini Beach Bigs Eggert
    • Dirk Rosen, Founder & Executive Director, Marine Applied Research and Exploration
    • Elisa Morgera, Professor of Global Environmental Law, Strathclyde University Law School & Director, “One Ocean Hub”
    • Jim Ritterhoff, Executive Director, FORCE BLUE

    The Cousteaus will provide a multigenerational perspective on our evolving understanding of the ocean across time, highlighting certain innovations in science and exploration that have shaped our relationship with the ocean.

    • Jean-Michel Cousteau
    • Celine Cousteau
Fabien Cousteau

    The segment will highlight exciting developments in the world of science, technology and exploration, with a particular focus on deep sea exploration, opportunities for future discoveries and the rapid progress in this field.

    • Mark Dalio, Founder & Creative Director, OceanX
    • Edith Widder, CEO & Senior Scientist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association, Inc.

    Announcement of the finalists and winners of the 2020 UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition.

    • Curator:
    • Ellen Cuylaerts, Freelance Underwater and Wildlife Photographer and Curator, 2020 UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition
    • Jim Standing, Adriana Basques, Adam Hanlon, Jill Heinerth, Darren Jew, Jane Morgan, Amos Nachoum, Miriam Stein Battles, David Salvatori, & John Thet

    This panel discussion will shed light on how the private sector is engaging communities to develop solutions for a healthy ocean.

    • Moderator:
    • Curtis Brainard, Managing Editor, Scientific American
    • Dave Ford, Founder, Soul Buffalo & Co-Founder, Ocean Plastics Leadership Network
    • Melissa Garren, CEO & Founder, Working Ocean Strategies
    • Michael W. Lodge, Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority
    • One Ocean Foundation

    This segment will feature community-oriented, -managed, and -driven solutions for a healthy ocean. True solutions have public buy-in and this is an opportunity to highlight the successful coalition building efforts of groups that include affected voices at the decision-making table.

    • Moderator:
    • Andrea Thompson, Associate Editor for Sustainability, Scientific American


    • Gayatri Reksodihardjo – Lilley, Yayasan Alam Indonesia Lestari, Indonesian Nature Foundation
    • Julia Kumari Drapkin, Founder & CEO, ISeeChange
    • Asha de Vos, Founder & Executive Director, Oceanswell
    • Shanta Shamsunnahar, Program Coordinator, MPA Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangladesh
    • Christophe Bailhache, Photographer & Filmmaker – Co-Founder of Underwater Earth

    Youth from around the world will share their solutions to drive innovation, engage their community and bridge generational gaps for a healthy and sustainable ocean.

    • Moderator:
    • Jackson Harries, Filmmaker & Environmentalist
    • Lilly Platt, Environmentalist and Global Youth Ambassador for Plastic Pollution Coalition, WODI &Youth Mundus. Founder of Lilly’s Plastic Pickup
    • Dylan Vecchione, Founder, ReefQuest Foundation
    • Callie Veelenturf, Marine Conservation Biologist; Founder, The Leatherback Project and Rights for Nature

    Remarks on World Oceans Week and the efforts of the Friends of World Oceans Day (FOWOD) community.

    • Francois Bailet, Senior Legal Officer, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations
    • Lea d’Auriol, Founder & Executive Director, Oceanic Global

    The Day will conclude with a celebration of the ocean through live performances from musicians around the world!

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