Koror, 14 April 2022 (TDI): The Republic of Palau and the United States (US) commenced the 7th ‘Our Ocean Conference’ on Wednesday. The United States and Palau co-organized the two-day event.

Meanwhile, more than 500 representatives from foreign governments, IGOs, academic institutions, the private sector, and civil society will participate in the two-day conference.

The participants also include a group of youth delegates who are showcasing their leadership and youth-led initiatives for ocean action.

The President of Palau, Surangel S. Whipps Jr., and the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John F. Kerry, opened the conference. They highlighted the Pacific region’s long history of ocean stewardship.

Likewise, the leaders called on participants to confront the challenges of the global climate crisis with a new level of urgency. John Kerry expressed that they can not deal with oceanic issues without considering the challenge of global climate change.

“As governments worldwide work to sustainably rebuild their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we would do well to remember that the ocean holds as many opportunities for resilient low-carbon growth as can be found on land”, the leaders said in a joint statement.

Our Ocean Conferences

Palau is the first Small Island Developing State (SIDS) to host an ‘Our Ocean conference.’ It highlighted the challenges that small island nations face due to the ocean-climate crisis.

Most small island developing countries exist in the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean. The conference started as a US Department of State initiative to raise international awareness of the oceans’ threats due to climate change.

Apart from awareness, the conference aims to develop concrete action around the globe to support marine conservation and sustainable development. The previous six conferences garnered more than 1,400 commitments worth approximately $91.4 billion.

The commitments aimed at protecting more than five million square miles of the ocean. New commitments from foreign governments, industry leaders, and philanthropies are expected this year.

The 2022 ‘Our Ocean Conference’ theme is “Our Ocean, Our People, Our Prosperity.” Our Ocean 2022 focuses on two issues. These two issues are:

  • The ocean-climate relationship.
  • The importance of a healthy ocean to small island developing states and its importance to the communities where the ocean provides a primary source of livelihood.