8 June marks the UN World Oceans Day. Since 2008, the world has celebrated this observance to raise awareness on the ocean’s role and driving global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Covering three-quarters of the earth’s surface, containing 97 percent of the earth’s water, and representing 99 percent of the living space on the planet by volume, the oceans provide and regulate our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, 15 percent of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe.
Did you know?
The ocean produces at least 50 percent of the planet’s oxygen.
Open ocean sites show current levels of acidity have increased by 26 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution .
Just five percent of Earth's oceans have been explored and charted. The rest remains mostly undiscovered and unseen by humans.
According to the World Register of Marine Species  - there are now 240,470 accepted species, but this is believed to be just a small proportion of the species that exist, with new marine life being discovered every day.
More than three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods, the vast majority in developing countries. This is why this year’s World Oceans Day’s theme is “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods” – to underscore the importance of oceans for the cultural life and economic survival of communities around the world.
The oceans and their climate-security challenges in the Pacific
The Pacific Ocean is home to some of the most extensive coral reefs in the world, unique biodiversity, landscapes and geography, cultures and languages. Scattered throughout the ocean are 14 geographically and culturally diverse independent SIDS with a combined population of about 10 million.
Did you know?
Almost 98 percent of the Pacific region is ocean.
With 25,000 islands lying within it, the Pacific Ocean has more islands than anywhere else on the planet.
The Pacific is wider than the moon. At its widest point, from Indonesia all the way to Colombia, the Pacific Ocean expansion is 12,300 miles across, which is more than five times the diameter of the moon.
But how are the oceans connected to the stability and security dynamics in the Pacific?
Rising sea level
Sea-level rise has various impacts that affect coastal communities in the Pacific. Firstly, coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion negatively impact coastal communities and areas crucial for food production making land unproductive, thus affecting food and water security.
The region is suffering irreversible food source degradation where between 70-90% of Pacific populations access healthy foods and livelihoods. Diminishing freshwater supplies for low-lying atolls from inundation droughts and saltwater intrusion are affecting key food crops. As a result, there is an increasing dependency on low nutritional imports as alternatives in a region producing some of the highest non-communicable disease (NDC) rates in the world (70-75% of deaths due to NDCs)  and 1 in 3 children suffer from stunting as a result of malnutrition .
Secondly, as rising seas encroach on coastlines, all Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) are at risk of losing land and a contraction of their exclusive economic zone (EEZs). The location of borders at sea are defined by the coastline, so inundating the coast could lead to loss of land territory as well as disputes on shifting maritime zone boundaries which are critical for national security, as well as natural resource management.
Thirdly, while sea level rise is threatening the very existence of Pacific SIDS, its effects will affect coastal communities long before lands disappear beneath the ocean. As lands will become unproductive due to saltwater intrusion, erosion, and reef degradation, thousands of people will be forced to migrate in the absence of ambitious adaptation actions.