Rosie Chambers – Our Ocean, an annual conference initiated by former US Secretary of State John Kerry, was held in Oslo earlier this month. It was the sixth Our Ocean conference and it couldn’t have come at a more important time for the ocean.
With a backdrop of increasing ocean threats, growing public consciousness of the scale of climate and ocean conservation issues, and 2020 just around the corner – this year has been deemed something of an ocean ‘super year’, when many international policy targets mature.
In addition, the IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere which launched a month earlier, painted a stark picture of ocean decline. There was a palpable air of urgency surrounding the conference.
As a newcomer to Our Ocean, I didn’t know what to expect from a pledging and commitments style of conference. What I found was a diverse set-up allowing for a series of focused plenary-style discussions bringing together 500 leaders from governments, businesses, civil society, and research institutions from 100 countries to share experiences, identify solutions, and learn.
This year’s Our Ocean saw 370 commitments made at a total value of US $63 billion. The volume and diversity of speakers pledging commitments to the ocean allowed me to reflect on six common themes:
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