By: L.N. Reklai

October 9, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Palau won the bid to host Our Oceans Conference in 2020 while Indonesia won 2018 and Norway, 2019, at recently held Oceans Conference in Malta this past week.

“The announcement that Palau will be hosting Our Oceans in 2020 is truly an honor that we accept with great pride. We accept this honor on behalf of the entire Pacific Family and we will be reaching out to all Pacific island countries‟ to join Palau in this great endeavor,” said President Tommy Remengesau Jr.

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“Our Oceans Conference” was first hosted by then United States Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014.  Since then, it has become an annual event attracting over a thousand participants including high-level attendees from governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations. It had since been held in Valparaiso, Chile and then again in United States.  This year, it was held in Malta, hosted by the European Union.

The event focuses on ocean issues including protected marine areas, fisheries, marine pollution and climate-related impacts.

“Our Oceans Conference seeks to showcase the state of the world’s oceans and provide a platform for governments, and private sector, non-government and civil society organizations to make announcements and commitments to further the protection of the ocean.”

President Remengesau Jr. was joined Minister Umiich Sengebau and Ambassador Uludong where they attended “many high-level events, bilateral meetings, panels and gatherings including meetings with HSH, Prince Albert II of Monaco and former Secretary Kerry.”

The highlight of Malta conference was the pledged of the European Union to contribute 1 million euros to Palau for El Niño climate and drought mitigation.

Another major highlight of this event was the announcement of the “Participants and donors at the Malta conference of over nine billion dollars in public private partnership support for the oceans and the Pacific Islands will receive 45 million USD in support for sustainable fisheries and climate change issues.”

Palau will work closely with the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner and the entire Pacific Community as well as government, private sector and non-government partners in the planning for the hosting of the event, according to information from the Office of the President.

“We are confident that the Pacific will be a worthy host to such a prestigious gathering and that each and every one of the participants will be able to see the issues that the Oceans are facing from a Pacific perspective and hopefully gain a renewed sense of what we are all fighting to protect,” added President Remengesau Jr. [/restrict]