The United Nations declared 1998 as the International Year of the Ocean (IYO) in order to bring
the issue of oceans and their key role in sustaining the delicate environmental balance and life on earth
into sharp focus by bringing this on the agenda of governments, international organisations and common
people. The Department of Ocean Development was the nodal agency implementing the various IYO
activities in coordination with other ministries, institutions and organisations. This was marked by the
signing of the Ocean Charter, not a legal document but symbolising the commitment of India to protect
and preserve coastal and marine environment. So as to raise the awareness in the country regarding the
vital role played by oceans in our lives, the following activities were undertaken during this period:
Twenty three million inland postal letters bearing a brief message of IYO, were printed in all regional
languages and in Hindi and English. Also 50,000 stickers (with IYO themes) and `My Ocean
Charter' copies were distributed to school children in all maritime states and Delhi.
A special supplement on `Oceans - Our Heritage' was published in the national daily, "The Hindu"
on 24th July, 1998.
A national symposium on `Oceans - Our Heritage' was broadcast on All India Radio in August, 1998.
A panel discussion on `Oceans - The Common Heritage of the Mankind' was telecast on Doordarshan
in September, 1998.
A special lecture by Dr. Gunnar Kullenberg, former Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission(IOC) on "Ocean Science and Technology-Emerging Opportunities" held
at New Delhi in November, 1998.
A series of four lectures by H.E. Satyanandan, Secretary General, ISBA were held at Goa, Chennai,
Delhi and Mumbai in November, 1998.
A function to popularise the uses of ocean was held on 23rd November, 1998 at Port Blair, Andamans
involving school children.