It is my distinct honor to call the 8th Our Ocean Conference to a close. Thank you all for participating in this genuinely historic event on the front lines of the ocean and climate crises – and especially those who made it possible.
Thank you to President Whipps and Palau again for generously hosting us — as well as the entire Palau team.
On the U.S. side, thank you to our policy team and logistics teams. A special thank you to the members of the Congressional delegation for traveling all this way, including my friend Senator Whitehouse.
And I particularly want to thank our sponsors, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, National Geographic, Oceans5, and Time.
Our goal this week was to shine a spotlight on what is happening to our ocean – not just talk, but make real commitments to take real actions and make a real difference.
We know the status quo is not good enough. We know we have to do more and do it faster. This week’s calling to ROCK THE BOAT implored us all to take action.
I am proud to say: that’s what we did.
Together, we realized extraordinary new commitments and ambition across many sectors. That includes commitments not just from countries but also from the private sector and non-governmental organizations – all of which are critical to winning this fight.
These commitments tackled some of the greatest threats to the ocean of our time. They addressed plastic pollution. They addressed illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. They addressed the climate crisis. Not just words, but actions.
Actions from Denmark, the United States, and the Marshall Islands, for example, who succeeded in more than doubling the number of signatories to the Declaration on Zero Emission Shipping by 2050. Actions in the form of new plans to develop zero-emission shipping routes in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
Actions from many nations to commit serious new resources to the fight against IUU fishing, with nearly $250 million pledged via policy, governance, on-the-water assets, technical assistance, and innovative forms of monitoring and traceability. And in the United States, we are bringing together 21 agencies with an integrated, government-wide response to IUU fishing globally under the Maritime Security and Fisheries Enforcement Act.
Actions from the United Kingdom, who increased their target for offshore wind deployment to deliver 50 GW by 2030, with an ambition for 5 GW to be from floating offshore wind. There is more than 11 GW of offshore wind already producing electricity in Great Britain – enough to power nearly 10 million homes, with another 8 GW in construction.
Actions to support the development of upgraded fisheries and aquaculture value chains, with the European Union and the United Kingdom both committing more than $130 million each to domestic improvements, while the UN Food and Agriculture Organization alone is providing $53 million to fund such work with a focus on Small Island Developing States.
The list goes on.
Australia announced $700 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The Green Climate Fund announced an anchor commitment of up to $125 million, to be implemented by Pegasus Capital Advisors, to fight coral reef degradation.
The Republic of Korea announced $100 million per year to address the scourge of plastic pollution.
The United States announced more than $160 million to support coastal resilience through the National Coastal Resilience Fund.
In fact, altogether the United States announced more than 100 commitments, worth more than $2.6 billion, including contributions from at least 13 departments and agencies. Because protecting our ocean is an “all-hands-on-deck” effort.
The message from this week was clear: We recognize the stakes, and we are starting to act with the urgency this moment demands.
We still do have time to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. We can still secure a healthy ocean. We can create millions of jobs and trillion-dollar new industries. And we can still reach a cleaner, safer, less polluted planet for all of us.
To show just how much progress we made toward that future, I would like to invite President Whipps to join me on the stage.
This is what it looks like when you begin to meet the moment. This is a significant achievement and a testament to all of your efforts.
Now we need to go back to our countries and organizations and build on this progress.
We have momentum – let’s seize it.
We have an ocean and a planet to protect – let’s sleep on the long flights home, and then get back to work.
Congratulations to each of you and thank you.