The five-day UN Ocean Conference comprised of bold commitments and a renewed focus on science and innovation to drive Ocean action. We’re sharing 7 commitments made by countries to restore our Ocean and breaking down what it all means. 

Protecting our Ocean = Saving our future  

The UN Ocean Conference, held in Lisbon from 27 June – 1 July 2022, was co-hosted by Kenya and Portugal and aimed to propel global Ocean action through science-based innovation and solutions.  

The conference reiterated that the science is clear: Human-made threats are causing an unprecedented decline in Ocean health.  

Did you know: Jason Momoa was named a UN advocate for Life Below Water at the conference, making him Aquaman in real life – not just on screen.  

The Ocean is essential for our survival  

Our Ocean needs to be placed at the heart of our solutions: for peace, health, security and sustainable development. 

Over 6,000 participants, including 24 Heads of State and Government, and over 2,000 representatives of civil society attended the UN Ocean Conference and advocated for urgent, concrete, actions to address the Ocean crisis

“We have taken the Ocean for granted, and now we face an Ocean emergency,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

What Ocean action was taken at the UN Ocean Conference?  

  • Recognition, by UN member states, that our Ocean is fundamental to life on our planet and to our future.  
  • The UNEA (UN Environmental Assembly) will be propagating a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution at a global level.  
  • 198 members of the UN signed the Lisbon Declaration - a suite of science-based and innovative actions that address the Ocean emergency.  

These actions range from empowering children and youth with knowledge and skills to understand the importance of the Ocean to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging women and girls’ meaningful engagement in the Ocean-based economy.  

  • 700 voluntary commitments – by stakeholders and countries – were registered.  

These investments, pledges, and plans emphasise the priority governments and civil societies are placing on taking care of our Ocean and transitioning toward a sustainable Ocean economy.  

Here are some of the commitments from various nations to restore our Ocean:  

  1. Marine Pollution, including Plastic Pollution: 

    - 173 countries have showed their support towards a legally binding Plastics Treaty to end plastic pollution. 
    - Monaco - HSH Prince Albert, shared the Beyond Plastic Med initiative providing EUR 1.3 million for 69 projects in 15 countries. 

  2. Fisheries, including IUU Fishing (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated): 

    - USA
    – Called for decarbonising Ocean transport, and increasing high seas protected areas. The USA also called for signing the US National Security Memorandum to Combat IUU Fishing and Associated Labor Abuses, and the IUU Fishing Action Alliance, with the UK and Canada. 
    - CANADA pledged CAD 1.7 million to address IUU fishing in developing countries. 
    - CÔTE D’IVOIRE highlighted the country’s focus on sustainable fisheries, including annual no-take periods.
     
  3. High Seas: 

    - Palau – Committed to generate 100% renewable energy by 2032. 
    - Many organisations are calling for a moratorium on seabed mining, with the International Union of Socialist Youth calling for an outright ban on bottom trawling and deep seabed mining. 
  4. Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s): 

    - Colombia – Committed to reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030; conserving and protecting 30% of its marine areas; restoring one million hectares of coral reef areas; and implementing a blue carbon programme to protect mangroves. 
    - Panama – Will increase their Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 40% by 2030. 

  5. Climate Change and Biodiversity: 

    - Pakistan Will aim to plant 7.5 million mangroves along the country’s coastline. 
    - UAE Will aim to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030 and establish a marine innovation park as a centre of excellence for science and research. 
    - Mauritius – Committed to planting 400,000 mangroves to restore degraded ecosystems. 

  6. Partnerships and Finance: 

    - Sweden – Announced USD 5 million to prevent an oil spill off the coast of Yemen. 
    - UK – Committed to double climate finance to GBP 11.6 billion, spending a third on nature-based solutions, with GBP 500 million invested in the Blue Planet Fund; and invest GBP 154 million into the new coast programme helping vulnerable communities adapt to climate change. 
    - Kenya comitted to planning for a blue economy bank fund. 

  7. Ocean Literacy, Science, and Innovation: 

    - TIMOR-LESTE and INDIA expressed interest in establishing a marine education center and a regional sustainable coastal and Ocean research institute. 
    - ARMENIA and UNESCO Partnership – Committed to a communication campaign for a new generation of effective change makers, including for the Ocean. 
    - BLACK SEA ECONOMIC COOPERATION highlighted the Virtual Blue Career Center to promote synergies in the region.  

This is what our Ocean needs 

These outcomes serve as a reminder: We’re making progress.  

As a world, we’re coming together, identifying what we need to do to change and taking actions that are necessary for our – and our Oceans’ - futures. It’s uplifting to see!  

In our personal capacity, we need to keep going, keep educating, keep turning the tide and propelling a wave of positive change for our Ocean. 

Our Ocean, Our Future, Our responsibility.