Palau hosts international delegations to kick off planning of Our Ocean Conference next year

Koror, 2019 – 26 November 2019

Officials from around the world will gather in Koror on 26-27 November 2019 to mark the start of Palau hosting the seventh international ocean conference in August 2020.

Next year will be the first time a Small Island Developing State (SID) has hosted, Our

Ocean, an annual conference begun by former US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014. The event will bring together governments, businesses, civil society, and research institutions to find—and deliver—solutions to the global ocean crisis.

President of Palau Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr: “Palau relies on the ocean for nearly every aspect of our lives, including food, livelihoods, tourism, and climate resilience, to name only a few. We are proud to continue the legacy of Our Ocean as host of the conference next year and believe Palau’s experience as an ocean nation and commitment to marine stewardship can inspire people and governments the world over to redouble our efforts and commitments as partners in protecting the ocean that sustains us all.”

Palau will host the conference during a year when the international community has turned a spotlight on the need for urgent ocean action, from the IPCC’s Ocean and Cryosphere report last September, to the UN Decade of Ocean Science, to the UN Ocean Conference to be held in Portugal next June.

The handover in November will mark the occasion when Norway, Our Ocean 2019’s host, passes leadership of the conference to Palau. It will build on momentum gained at this year’s event, which saw participation from 600 attendees representing 100 countries and 374 commitments worth US $63 billion.

The transition from Norway to Palau continues a longstanding working relationship between the two countries on ocean matters. Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg are co-chairs of the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, an initiative driven by 15 serving heads of government committed to catalyzing bold, pragmatic solutions for ocean health and wealth.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg: “As coastal states, Norway and Palau are both dependent on the ocean for their survival. We both understand the need to take better care of the ocean in order to make sure it can support all of us for generations to come. It is therefore with great enthusiasm that Norway welcomes Palau into the illustrious list of Our Ocean hosts.”

A small island-nation, with one of the world’s biggest exclusive economic zones, Palau prefers to think of itself as a “large-ocean state”. It has been an early-adopter of pioneering and globally-recognized practical ocean conservation measures. When Our Ocean 2020 convenes, Palau will be a few months into the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary – one of the world’s largest no-take marine protected areas. It is also on the front line of the climate crisis, bearing the damaging effects of rising sea levels and ocean acidification.

Our Ocean 2020 will continue to facilitate the global knowledge, partnerships and action required to halt the urgent decline of the Earth’s life force, and Palau will bring the crucial SIDS voice and perspective to Our Ocean 2020. It will also maintain the conference’s legacy of showing progress on previous commitments, empowering the voice of youth, and amplifying innovation and ocean actionable solutions. (PR)