International Year of the Ocean


Emblem of the International Year of the OceanIn recognition of the importance of the ocean, the marine environment and its resources for life on earth and for sustainable development, the United Nations declared 1998 as the International Year of the Ocean. This provided a window of opportunity for governments, organizations and individuals to become aware of the ocean issues and to consider the actions needed to undertake the common responsibility to sustain the greatest common heritage we have and without which we cannot exist.


The overall objective was to focus and reinforce the attention of the public, governments and decision makers at large on the importance of the oceans and the marine environment as resources for sustainable development.

The major aim of the joint efforts during 1998 was to create awareness and obtain commitments from governments to take action, provide adequate resources and give the priority to the ocean and coastal areas which they deserve as finite economical assets.


This was most important, in view of the increasing threats of pollution, population pressure, excessive fishing, coastal zone degradation and climate variability to the finite resource the ocean represents.


United Nations pavilion at Expo '98, LisbonA special UN pavilion was built at the Expo '98 in Lisbon. On 9 August, the United Nations celebrated its Honour Day, with a strong focus on youth participation, following the United Nations Youth Forum in Braga (Portugal). In addition, for the duration of Expo '98, the Pavilion presented a variety of special cultural, artistic and media events, including scientific encounters on such topics as the world weather watch, ocean observation and our underwater cultural heritage.





The official IYO website from UNESCO.

All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.



Stamp catalogue


Alderney                                      10 February 1998

Azores                                         4 August 1998

British Indian Ocean Territory        7 December 1998

Faroe Islands                                18 May 1998

Jersey                                         11 August 1998

Netherlands Antilles                      30 September 1998

Niger                                           1998

Pitcairn Islands                             16 December 1998

Solomon Islands                            23 July 1998









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last revised: 31 May 2009