United Nations World Oceans Day 2020 Virtual Event

Innovation for our ocean

Monday, 8th June, 2020

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

First-Ever Virtual Event

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.

2020 UN World Oceans Day

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.

Featured Ocean Voices

Focused on the theme of Innovation For A Sustainable Ocean, UN World Oceans Day 2020 was a day-long event featuring keynote speeches, panels, and intimate chats with leading ocean voices including:

  • Cara

  • Jean-Michel

  • Forbi Perise
    Eyong Nyosai

  • Tom


  • Bill

  • Sylvia

  • Gayatri
    Reksodihardjo – Lilley

  • Ellie

  • Lilly

Watch the Full Stream

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

Explore Individual Segments

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


Opening Remarks

10:00 AM

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

Remarks: Cara Delevingne

The State of the Ocean

10:15 AM

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

"Spotlight Solutions" for the Ocean

10:45 AM

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: A Multigenerational Conversation on Ocean Exploration

11:40 PM

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

OceanX: Science, Technology and Deep Sea Exploration

12:00 PM

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.

UN World Oceans Day Photo Competition Winners

12:20 PM

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

Remarks: Ellie Goulding

The Blue Economy and Private Sector Impact

12:45 PM

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

Communities Innovating for a Sustainable Ocean

1:40 PM

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 Driving Innovation

2:40 PM

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

World Ocean Week Remarks

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

A Concert for The Ocean

3:40 PM

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

A Concert for the Ocean

Fatoumata Diawara
Nick Mulvey
Vieux Farka Touré
Tenzin Choegyal
Jess Glynne
Alice Phoebe Lou

Supported by



Storyteller Interactive Session


Dr. Sylvia Earle

President & Chair, Mission Blue

Tun Lin

Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation

Kudzi Victorino Dykman

Ocean Revolution and Bitonga Divers, President

Lynn Zebeda

Co-Initiator, WeOcean

Paige Alms

World Surf League, Pro Surfer