Richard Branson – It was wonderful to spend time with some inspiring and driven ocean activists for the UltraMarine Ocean Action Summit. Having the beautiful Caribbean as our backdrop certainly inspired us all to do all we can to ensure the blue planet’s future.
It was fascinating to hear how the tiny island and large ocean nation of Palau in the North Pacific is an amazing beacon of positive ocean action. Led by President Tommy Remengesau, its Palau National Marine Sanctuary, which came into effect on January 1st this year, boasts the largest percentage of fully protected waters of any country in the world.
The First Lady of Palau, Debbie Remengesau, told us about the Palau Pledge, which every visitor has to sign on entry to the country after watching a video about the country on their flight in. Minister Wheatley and I were happy to sign it too.
At the Summit, we focused on what action needs to be taken in the Caribbean to reach the goal of highly protecting at least 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030, and also on what we can do here in the British Virgin Islands. It was great to be joined by Vincent Wheatley, a BVI Minister, to talk about these goals. We also discussed how we can engage young people around the world in the cause of ocean protection. And we applauded the Maldives for its recent partnership with the Blue Prosperity Coalition and commitment to protecting at least 20 per cent of its waters in the next few years. Recognising how important its coral reefs are, not just for tourism, but for coastal protection and the Maldivian way of life, I look forward to seeing the government developing policies to protect their vital and magnificent coral reefs.