Protecting the health of the earth’s oceans are at the heart of Our Ocean. This is the global conference that Palau will be hosting in August next year.
This is the first time a Micronesian nation will host 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.
Participants convened in Oslo, Norway from Oct 23 to 24 for this year’s conference.
Sustainable blue economy
At the handover ceremony in Oslo, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. also spoke about Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary.
With the sanctuary, Palau is on the cusp of a new era in transitioning towards a sustainable blue economy.
“When you come to Palau for next year’s Our Ocean Conference, I hope that you will also take the opportunity to see this in progress for yourself,” he said.
Palau’s marine protective area covers more than 400,000 square kilometers. Here’s the link to the closing and handover ceremony (Video credit: Our Ocean 2019)
Dependence on the ocean
Remengesau and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg also convened a sustainable economy high-level panel at the conference.
“You know, when we are in or around the water, I am sure we have often thought about how small we are in the face of the mighty power and vastness of the ocean,” Remengesau said.
He added: “We have also thought about its beauty, and then we are reminded about how much we depend on the ocean for our food, our livelihood, and our identities.”
He added: “We have met here in the shadow of the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) special report on the ocean. And too many other warnings, on pollution, biodiversity, and overfishing. These are wake up calls to rebalance our relationship with the ocean.”
Our Ocean commitments
So far, over a thousand commitments have already been put together by governments, civil society, and businesses in over 70 countries since 2014.
According to the SDG Knowledge Hub, the sixth Our Ocean Conference in Norway generated 370 pledges or commitments for a clean, healthy and productive ocean.
These commitments address areas of action such as marine pollution, sustainable economies, and climate change.