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By Eric Schwaab, Senior Vice President, Environmental Defense Fund These are challenging times for our oceans and fisheries. Climate impacts, so evident along our coasts, in our forests, and on our farms, are even more disruptive to our oceans. Fish stocks are shifting at unprecedented rates and in unexpected ways. Fishermen are traveling farther to […]
The Our Ocean Conference concluded in Norway with 370 separate pledges for action to conserve the ocean made by governments, NGOs and private corporations, with a value of $63 billion, ABC News reported. Climate change commitments received the lion share of the funding at $51 billion, and the private sector providing nearly 80% of the funds. Concurrently, a Youth Leadership Summit convened 100 young ocean activists from around the globe for a “boot camp” on ocean conservation innovative ideas.
Why This Matters: The Our Ocean conference is a different type of global meeting — not based on a legal framework or executive agreement, and not limited to governments or as full participants — which seems to be one of the keys to its success. The Conference also benefits from the exuberance of the youth meeting held in parallel. It seems to be working — Palau has signed on to host the next year’s conference and Panama will host the year after that.
Our Daily Planet was fortunate to catch up with Former Secretary Kerry as the 6th Our Ocean Conference in Oslo, Norway was drawing to a close. ODP: Since launching the Our Ocean Conference five years ago, this meeting has resulted in 1,370 commitments from governments, the private sector, philanthropies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academia valued […]
Yesterday at the Our Ocean Conference in Norway, the U.S. government announced a series of 23 actions it will undertake to promote sustainable fisheries, combat marine debris, and support marine science, observation, and exploration — together they are valued at $1.21 billion dollars.
Why This Matters: The U.S. announcement certainly is big — but the projects were not clearly spelled out in the government’s press release — and the devil could be in the details since they were couched as enhancing the “blue economy.” We hope that when more details are available, these projects will put as much emphasis on sustainability as on development. And because accountability is a major component of the Our Ocean conference, the U.S. will have a hard time backing away from spending the dollars committed.
In 2014, then-Secretary of State John Kerry launched the first Our Ocean Conference (OOC) with the goal of making safeguarding the health of the ocean a foreign policy imperative — lifting the issue up to get the attention of world leaders just as had happened for climate change in the 1990s.
Why This Matters: Five years later the Conference has set the standard for informal international cooperation and how to galvanize a “race to the top” among ocean nations. Without a treaty or agreement or even a convening body, this group of nations keeps coming back and giving more. Our Ocean is instrumental in conserving our oceans and all the people who depend on them.
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