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World Ocean Day 2009 - Maud Fontenoy appointed spokesperson for the oceans

Paris, 5 June

Renowned French navigator Maud Fontenoy has been named the UNESCO and World Ocean Network* Spokesperson for the Oceans. The nomination was announced on the occasion of the first United Nations World Ocean Day, which will be celebrated on June 8 under the theme “One Ocean, One Climate, One Future”.

As Spokesperson for UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the World Ocean Network – a non-governmental organization – Ms Fontenoy will work to raise awareness of the need to protect the ocean environment against major threats such as climate change, pollution and unchecked urban development of the world’s coastal areas.

Ms Fontenoy, 31, rowed across the Atlantic in 2003 and then across the Pacific in 2005. In 2006 -2007 she sailed solo around the Southern hemisphere, against the current. An outspoken defender of the ocean, she is also vice-president of the Conservatoire national du littoral in France, and president of the Maud Fontenoy Foundation.

“When you sail around the world, you realize that the planet is not that big and that most of it is ocean,” said Maud Fontenoy at a press conference held at UNESCO on 3 June. “You also see how much damage is being done to the ocean and understand how urgent it has become to protect it.

“As spokesperson, it is my job to help people to understand what is at stake with the oceans, why we need to keep them in good health, and what we can do to achieve that,” she said.

“The ocean is essential to food security and the health and survival of all life, powers our climate and is a critical part of the biosphere” said IOC Executive-Secretary Patricio Bernal. “The official designation of World Ocean Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the ocean. We are delighted and honoured that Maud Fontenoy has accepted to serve as Spokeswoman for UNESCO IOC and the World Ocean Network to help us with this task.”

UNESCO –IOC was created in 1960 to promote international cooperation and coordinate programmes in research, sustainable development, protection of the marine environment, capacity-building for improved management, and decision-making. It assists developing countries in strengthening their institutions to obtain self-driven sustainability in marine sciences.

*The World Ocean Network is an international association of museums, aquaria, science centres, educational charities, institutions and non-governmental organizations that work to make the public aware of the importance of the ocean and the impact of human activity on the marine environment.

  • Author(s):Press Release N°2009-54
  • 05-06-2009
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