Palau preparation to host 2020 Our Ocean Conference underway

by Bernadette Carreon | 1 May 2019 | News

Large-scale and small-scale fishing in the waters off Madang in Papua New Guinea. Credit: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Palau’s preparation to host the 2020 edition of the Our Oceans conference is underway. The conference will be a gathering of leaders to commit to actions related to sustainable fisheries marine protected areas, climate change, marine pollution, sustainable blue economy, and maritime security.

In hosting next year’s conference, the Republic of Palau will serve as the venue where experts, stakeholders, innovators, and entrepreneurs share the stage with global leaders in ocean conservation.

Palau President, Tommy Remengesau Jr. said in his State of the Republic Address (SORA) on April 25 that the hosting of 7th Our Ocean Conference on August 2020, “will be one of the largest events held in the region attracting high level government officials to major corporations and civil service organizations from around the world.”

Once the Palau National Marine Sanctuary law takes effect, commercial fishing on over 500,000 square kilometers or 80 percent of its maritime waters will be prohibited.

The remaining 20 percent of Palau’s seas will be reserved for domestic fishing.      

Rememegsau said that at the last conference held in Bali, Indonesia there were 305 tangible and measurable commitments amounting to USD$10.7 billion and comprising of 14 million square kilometres of Marine Protected Areas around the globe.

To help Palau host the event, over 900 commitments have been pledged by governments, NGOs, corporations, United Nations entities, academia, the scientific community, philanthropic organisations, individuals, and many others to address the plight of the world’s oceans. Together, they represent more than $28 billion in funding, technical and in-kind contributions, according to a briefing by the Our Oceans Committee in Palau to the members of Congress and the Executive Branch.

In a statement, the committee said, funding commitments have been from allied partners for the necessary infrastructure for the conference.

“The Our Ocean 2020 Conference will convene leaders from major countries and organisations who are global ocean champions to discuss and take action on issues and solutions…,” the Committee said in its update presentation.

Remengesau said Our Ocean Conference 2020 will focus on actions and results of prior commitments to protect the oceans.

He said that it is events “such as these with the aim of showcasing how such commitments have been translated into actions, that improve and enhance the lives of people in their respective countries.”