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. Commitments were tallied under six categories: Marine Protected Areas, Climate Change, Marine Pollution, Maritime Security, Sustainable Fisheries, and Sustainable Blue Economy — with climate change commitments getting 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 as full participants — which seems to be one of the keys to its success. The attendees do a lot of talking for sure — but the conversations are tightly focused around concrete pledges of action or funding or tools — or all of the above, and all of them must fit in one of the six the categories listed above that were identified at the first conference five years ago. The conference was Former Secretary John Kerry’s brainchild (see his interview this week), and reflect his willingness to adopt an unconventional approach to international collaboration to achieve the results that are needed for our ocean. 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.
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