Billions Pledged for Commitments at 7th Our Ocean Conference in Palau
PALAU — The United States alone announced more than 100 commitments, worth more than $2.6 billion to tackle great threats to the Earth’s oceans at the 7th Our Ocean Conference held in Palau, April 13-14, 2022.
Throughout six previous conferences, participating nations and private companies have made more than 1,400 commitments worth approximately $91.4 billion and protected at least 5 million square miles of ocean. This 7th edition, co-convened by President Surangel Whipps Jr. of Palau and the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, helped draw attention to this area in the Western Pacific Ocean, a region particularly prone to the effects of climate change.
“Our goal this week was to shine a spotlight on what is happening to our ocean – not just talk, but make real commitments to take real actions and make a real difference,” Kerry said in his closing statements at the conference.
Among the commitments were actions to combat plastic pollution, increase offshore wind development, enhance coastal resilience, restore marine ecosystems and help the further development of a sustainable and circular blue economy.
Fresh off the news that its great wonder of the natural world is experiencing its fourth devastating mass bleaching event since 2016, Australia announced $700 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef with The Green Climate Fund anchoring a $125 million commitment to assist in fighting coral degradation.
There was also a strong focus on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, with nearly $250 million pledged in new resources for on-the-water assets, technical assistance, and innovative forms of monitoring and traceability to the fight against IUU fishing. The United States said it would bring together 21 agencies for an integrated response under the Maritime Security and Fisheries Enforcement Act.
Actions from the Conference more than doubled the number of signatories to the Declaration on Zero Emission Shipping by 2050, with new plans emerging to develop zero-emission shipping routes in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
“Protecting our ocean is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ effort,” Kerry said. “The message from this week was clear: We recognize the stakes, and we are starting to act with the urgency this moment demands.
“We still do have time to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. We can still secure a healthy ocean. We can create millions of jobs and trillion-dollar new industries. And we can still reach a cleaner, safer, less polluted planet for all of us.”
The EU has developed a commitment tracking tool to allow citizens to follow the progress of the implementation of conference commitments.
Kate can be reached at [email protected].
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