10 Oct 2017 - Public and private actors from 112 countries around the world made commitments worth over $7 billion (€6 billion) to tackle global oceans challenges at the Our Ocean Conference 2017 held in Malta on October 5-6.
The resources will be invested to strengthen the fight against marine pollution and enlarge protected areas, reinforce security of the oceans, foster blue economy initiatives and sustainable fisheries and intensify E.U. efforts against climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals under Agenda 2030.
Participants also announced the creation of new Marine Protected Areas spanning more than 2.5 million square kilometers, more than half the size of the entire European Union.
Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the planet. They produce most of the Earth's oxygen and absorbing 30 percent of the carbon emitted. Three billion people worldwide depend on the ocean for their livelihoods. One billion people rely on seafood as their main source of animal protein. But the oceans face a multitude of threats, such as pollution, climate change, overfishing and criminal activities at sea. Marine pollution is a massive problem with over 10 million tonnes of litter annually ending up in the sea. By 2050, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish.
The Our Ocean conferences are a response to these mounting challenges. This year's conference has brought together public and private actors from six continents, and, for the first time, has gathered significant commitments from the private sector, including Airbus, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, Royal Caribbean Cruises, AXA, Sky and others.
Starting in 2014, high-level participants from more than 100 countries have attended the Our Ocean conferences (hosted by the Governments of the United States in 2014 and 2016 and Chile in 2015 and by the European Union in Malta this year), including Heads of State or Government and ministers, companies ranging from large industry and the traditional fisheries sector to Silicon Valley tech, NGOs and philanthropic organizations. They have made over 700 concrete, measurable and tracked commitments.
Next year's conference will be hosted by Indonesia, followed by Norway in 2019.