photo from (Sea Technology Magazine)

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October 29, 2019 Palau will have the honor of hosting the seventh Our Ocean Conference in August 2020, where it will lead a global, multi-stakeholder forum to generate transformative commitments for ocean health and wealth.

A small island-nation, but a large ocean-state, Palau has been an early-adopter of pioneering, globally-recognized, practical ocean conservation measures. This proactive approach is the modern expression of a long tradition of conservation knitted into the very fabric of Palau’s culture dating back to antiquity. 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.

“Palau is on the frontline of ocean change; and at the forefront of ocean action. It is now time to share our knowledge, learn from partners, and facilitate urgent international action and we look forward to hosting Our Ocean 2020.” – President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.

The sixth Our Ocean Conference, an annual conference initiated by former US Secretary of State John Kerry, was held in Oslo earlier this month, highlighting the level of threat facing the ocean and the need for action. The conference brought together 500 leaders from governments, businesses, civil society and research institutions from 100 countries to share their experience, identify solutions, and learn. 370 commitments were made at a total value of US $63 billion to action for a clean, healthy and productive ocean.

The ocean and cryosphere IPCC report launched in September 2019 during the UN’s climate week, painted a stark picture of ocean decline. Humankind is waking up to the fact that our actions on the ocean have a destructive impact on our planet. We need to achieve much in the shortest time possible and need to take collective responsibility and decisive action to protect our planet’s lifeline.

Caring for the ocean is not just for island or coastal peoples, but for all of us – all of humanity depends on the ocean, and we need to work with, and not against the ocean, if we are to prosper. Our Ocean provides an opportunity for all the world’s continents to make commitments to protect our ocean and reminds us that safeguarding our ocean for future generations is a shared endeavor. Not just shared among governments, but with the private sector, philanthropy, and civil society. Everyone must be on board.” – President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.

Palau, one of the smallest nations on our planet, whose people have an ancient relationship with the ocean have preserved their part of it for generations.  2020 will be the first time that a small island developing state (SIDS) hosts the Our Ocean Conference, putting a SIDS perspective at the front and center of the Conference. For islanders, life begins and ends with the sea, increasing the urgency of reversing humanity’s neglect of the ocean that Our Ocean 2020 aims to achieve. (PR)