For the past two days, I have been a participant at US Secretary of State John Kerry’s two-day international summit, Our Ocean 2014, held June 16-17, 2014 in Washington, D.C. During this time, I have witnessed some incredible commitments from global leaders that recognize the value of the world’s oceans and importance of improving management of ocean resources.
Some highlights include:
- President Obama announced the creation of more 1.8 million km2 of MPA in U.S. waters, bringing the total area up to 3 million km2
- President Obama also announced that his administration is putting in place a system that will ensure that all fish sold in the US is legal and traceable
- The President of Kiribati announced that his country will ban commercial fishing in its waters as of January 2015
- The President of Palau announced that his country will create a National Marine Sanctuary that encompasses 80% of its waters
- Leonardo DiCaprio announced a total of US$10 million in funding ($3 million for Oceana) to support ocean and marine studies and protection;
- NOAA will invest US$9 million to support the creation of a Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network;
- The Chilean Foreign Minister proposed to host a follow up conference in Chile next year to assess progress with regards to the various commitments made at this meeting;
- The Norwegian Foreign Minister announced an additional US$150 million to support sustainable fisheries around world and US$1 million to deal with marine litter, then provide US$1 billion to support climate mitigation;
- The Foreign Minister of Togo reported that his government is committed to policing its waters (in collaboration with other West African countries) to stop IUU fishing; and
- The Bahamas announced a plan to increase its current 3% MPA of its waters to 20% by 2020; and they have created a Trust Fund to ensure long funding for the country’s MPA.
You can read a transcript John Kerry’s opening remarks to the summit online. Overall, commitments made at the conference by governments, private sector, intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and foundations amount to over US$1.4 billion. This is great news for our oceans.