7th Our Ocean Conference yields billions of dollars in new commitments for a healthy ocean

Posted on 14 April 2022

Countries, companies and organizations attending the 7th Our Ocean Conference made more than 400 commitments worth $16.35 billion for marine protection, restoration and governance, bringing the total value of commitments made through Our Ocean to $108 billion since 2014. 

WWF applauds this result, and urges all parties to urgently chart a course from commitment to implementation.  

The 7th Our Ocean was a global stage for Pacific leadership on ocean protection and building a sustainable blue economy. Hosted jointly by the Republic of Palau and the United States, and held in Koror, Palau, this was the first in the Our Ocean series to be held in a small island developing state. 

Several delegates noted that “large ocean states” would be a more apt designation, given the vast marine area under the jurisdiction of Pacific island nations.   

“It’s about using the ocean appropriately and getting the benefits back to communities,” said conference co-host President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. of Palau. “We want to build durable marine protected areas with integrity that deliver benefits for people. But every country has to do its part.” 

President Whipps went on to encourage all Pacific island states to go to the UN Ocean Conference in June with commitments toward protecting 30% of their marine territory by 2030, and to advocate for international action to protect the high seas.

Conference co-host U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry noted, “the voices of island nations speak with a particular imperative” when it comes to tackling climate change, overfishing, pollution and unsustainable exploitation of marine resources. 

“Pacific nations are at the epicenter of the fight for healthy and prosperous oceans. That was on display here in Palau this week,” said Johan Bergenas, Senior Vice President, Oceans, WWF-U.S. “They are demonstrating exceptional leadership and it’s incumbent on the rest of the world to redouble efforts and investment in ecosystem health, sustainable blue foods, and healthy oceans that work for people and the planet.”

Commitments announced at the 7th Our Ocean Conference include:
  • On marine protected areas: 58 commitments from 24 countries/organizations worth $1.3 billion
  • On maritime security, including combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, 44 commitments from 11 countries/organizations worth $357 million
  • On marine pollution: 71 commitments from 26 countries/organizations worth $3.3 billion  
  • On sustainable blue economies, 90 commitments from 34 countries/organizations worth $5.7 billion
  • On sustainable fisheries, 59 commitments from 21 countries/organizations worth $666 million
  • On climate change, 74 commitments from 28 countries/organizations worth $3.8 billion
Additional key calls for action include: finalizing a UN treaty for protection and management of the high seas, putting in place a moratorium of at least 10 years on deep seabed mining, ending harmful fisheries subsidies and tackling marine pollution, particularly plastics
 
“The Our Oceans Conference successfully brought together representatives from over 80 countries to step up, commit and advance an oceans agenda and sustainable future with important recognition of small island developing states,” said Mark Drew, Director, WWF-Pacific. “We need to build on the momentum and continue to change the relationship that humanity has with nature and to respect the limits the oceans have supporting communities, economies and the well-being of our planet.” 
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) seen from underwater with snorkler in Indo-Pacific Ocean.
© Jürgen Freund / WWF