In 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.
A special UN pavilion was built at the Expo '98 in
The official IYO website from UNESCO.
All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.