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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Marine Environment


The majority of Americans live in coastal areas. The health and well-being of coastal populations are intimately linked to the quality of the coastal marine environment. The Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs (OPA) works with partners in the United States and around the world to help protect the marine environment from pollution and other anthropogenic threats.

  • OPA and other Federal agencies actively participate in the International Maritime Organization’s efforts to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping including the areas of safety, environmental protection, technical co-operation, and maritime security.
  • OPA strongly supports the Regional Seas Programme in addressing the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment.
  • OPA works with other Federal agencies, states, tribes, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to formulate U.S. foreign policy approaches to invasive species, especially in the context of international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
  • OPA coordinates the United States response to international requests for oil spill assistance and manages United States involvement in international agreements on oil spill prevention and response.


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