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The United Nations Celebrates World Oceans Day
By Joanna Lentini, June 12, 2017 @ 05:15 AM (EST)

Ellen Cuylaerts presents the winning images of the World Oceans Day Photo Competition
 

The United Nations celebrated World Oceans Day this past Thursday, June 8, during which they announced the winners of the annual World Oceans Day Photo Competition. At the UN headquarters in New York City, underwater photographer Ellen Cuylaerts presented the winning images to the General Assembly. DPG was a proud partner of the open and free photo competition, which seeks to inspire and educate others through stunning imagery. 
 

Underwater photographer Ellen Cuylaerts presents the winners


The evening reception consisted of various speeches and performances. While certain current events overshadowed the celebration of World Oceans Day, the weeklong ocean conference, which began on June 5, produced some great outcomes. Nations such as China, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia committed to taking a close look at reducing their ocean plastics pollution; the West African country, Gabon, announced Monday the creation of the largest marine reserve network on the continent of Africa (doubling what the UN had aimed for and doing so three years ahead of time); and Sir Richard Branson pressed the nations of the world to protect 30 percent of the planet’s oceans by 2030 with a petition signed by over one million people.

World Oceans Day concluded with the annual lighting of the Empire State Building, which was televised at the reception. In conjunction with Oceana, the iconic building was bathed in the color blue to represent the world’s oceans.
 

Guests gather to hear the various speakers present at the evening reception
 

Palauans dance with guests during the reception
 

Art made from recycled materials on display at the UN
 

Outside the World Oceans Day reception
 

Stefan Kuuskne and François Bailet, chief organizers of the UN’s World Oceans Day celebrations
 

The World Oceans Day Reception

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