The United States welcomes the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) recent announcement that it will host the 10th Our Ocean Conference (OOC) in 2025. The U.S. Department of State convened the first-ever OOC in 2014, and, in the time since, the annual conferences have resulted in more than 1,800 commitments, worth nearly $108 billion, to protect ocean health and security. The ROK’s announcement, made during the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, comes as Panama prepares to host the eighth OOC in 2023 and Greece prepares to host the ninth OOC in 2024.
The ocean touches every aspect of our lives. It regulates our climate and weather, generates approximately half of the planet’s oxygen, and provides food and livelihoods for billions of people. Yet the health of the ocean is under threat. Human activities, such as overfishing and plastic pollution, are harming ocean ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions are driving the climate crisis and an ocean crisis.
Started by the U.S. Department of State and sustained by a growing community of international hosts and global commitments to action, the Our Ocean Conferences bring together governments and non-state actors to make concrete commitments to protect ocean health and security. The seventh Our Ocean Conference, hosted earlier this year by Palau and the United States, was the first Our Ocean Conference to be held in a Small Island Developing State. The conference concluded with more than 400 commitments worth more than $16 billion across the six issue areas of the conference: climate change, sustainable fisheries, sustainable blue economies, marine protected areas, maritime security, and marine pollution.
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