International delegates representing governments, businesses, academic and research institutions, civil society, youth leaders and philanthropic organizations announced major commitments worth more than $16 billion to protect ocean health at the seventh Our Ocean Conference in Palau.
A total of 410 commitments were made at the event, hosted jointly by the Republic of Palau and the United States. The conference is an annual event initiated in 2014 by then-U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, who is now the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate.
The conference was envisioned as a platform to mobilize support and funding for ocean initiatives to address the world’s most pressing ocean issues. As such, it’s a key milestone event for leaders to ensure global commitments on ocean heath are upheld and backed by robust financing.
Discussions focused around the importance of ocean-based climate solutions and the linkage between healthy oceans and healthy communities.
To date, the seven OOC events have accrued more than 1,800 commitments worth more than $108 billion and protected at least 13 million sq. km (5 million sq. miles) of ocean.
“We’re starting now finally to act with the urgency that the moment demands,” Kerry said in his closing remarks at the conference, “even as we understand that we have to accelerate even more.”