Palau postpones global ocean conference

The resolution calls for a pause to the designation of critical coral habitats all around Guam. (file photo)

Global concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the postponement of the Our Ocean Conference 2020, according to the Palau Government.

Palau is hosting the global environmental conference this year.

The conference is slated for Aug 17-18 but the date has been pushed back to December 7-8, 2020.

With the announcement, Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., said: “Protecting the health and well-being of the Palauan public and those of visiting dignitaries and guests is paramount. Global attention now is rightly dedicated to saving lives, containing the pandemic, and delivering immediate economic responses”.

According to the Palau Government, the conference theme – Local to Global Action for Our Ocean – will draw on Palau’s rich tradition as an ocean society to set a course towards a sustainable ocean economy that all of humanity will depend on, particularly in a post-pandemic world.

Ocean action is ever more urgent to ensure its protection, enable humanity to live in balance with ocean ecosystems, and ensure a ‘blue-green’ recovery to the pandemic.

“As the global dialogue turns to how to build back better, we must also implement blue recoveries, and take the opportunities to scale up ambition towards a sustainable ocean economy. The Our Ocean Conference 2020 will be the place to showcase partnership and commitments towards this blue recovery,” said Remengesau, Jr.

The conference invites governments, civil society organizations and businesses to submit new commitments, updates on previous commitments, and proposals for side events from June 2020 onwards.

This is the first time a Micronesian nation will be hosting the Our Ocean Conference.

The U.S. Department of State held the first one in Washington D.C. in 2014. The U.S. capital hosted again in 2016. So far, Chile, Malta, and Indonesia have consecutively hosted the annual gathering.

Invitations to participate and a provisional conference agenda will be issued in September 2020. Further information will be posted on the Our Ocean Conference 2020 website in due course, according to the Palau Government.