1. What are Voluntary Commitments for the Ocean Conference?

Voluntary Commitments for The Ocean Conference are initiatives or pledges undertaken by any stakeholder – individually or in partnership – that aim to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14). 

Voluntary Commitments are expected to be specific, quantifiable (where possible), focused on contributing to one or more target(s) under SDG 14.

2. What criteria do voluntary commitments need to fulfill?

Voluntary Commitments for The Ocean Conference are encouraged to:

  • Advance the implementation of SDG 14 and associated targets, reflecting inter-linkages between SDG 14 and other Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Respect the principles of the United Nations and the legal framework in force on the oceans;
  • Build on existing successful initiatives (scaling it up, new phase, etc.) or launch a new one.
  • Include means of implementation – such as finance or capacity building – as an element to help ensure sustainability of the initiative.
  • Follow the SMART Criteria – a commitment that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resource based, with Time-based deliverables.

3. What is the purpose of registering voluntary commitments for The Ocean Conference?

Member States have decided that a list of voluntary commitments will form a part of the official outcome of The Ocean Conference. The list will be produced at the end of the Conference for inclusion in the final Conference report, based on online registrations and announcements during the official proceedings of the Conference.

The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments will provide a broad platform for facilitating information sharing, fostering collaboration among a range of stakeholders, assessing where implementation is taking place, provide gap analysis, and catalysing additional action to address challenges that oceans and seas are facing.

4. WHO can register voluntary commitments for The Ocean Conference?

Anyone can register voluntary commitments for The Ocean Conference! This includes Governments, non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations, academic and research institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations, international and regional financial institutions – individually or in partnership. Entities entering voluntary commitments are not required to be registered to attend the Ocean Conference itself.

5. What is the timeframe for a voluntary commitment?

Any commitment made since the SDGs were adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 can be registered. The registry will also remain open after the conference.

6. Our organization/entity has an existing voluntary commitment for SDG 14. Can it still be registered in The Ocean Conference Registry?

Yes. Submissions to The Ocean Conference Registry may include commitments that have been made since the adoption of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (September 2015).

7. We already have a registered partnership or voluntary commitment in the Partnerships for SDGs online platform, or in the SIDS Action Platform, but wish to commit to SDG 14 and The Ocean Conference. Do we need to register again at The Ocean Conference Registry?

If your existing initiative meets the criteria for an SDG 14 voluntary commitment, you may update the existing initiative and add it to The Ocean Conference list of commitments directly.

8. WHERE should we register our voluntary commitment?

The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments, and the online registration form, are available on the Conference website at:

9. WHEN should we register our voluntary commitment?

The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments remains open and registrations can be made online. The UN Secretariat encourages voluntary commitments to be made online, and will highlight registered voluntary commitments and updates through its various outreach channels and social media campaigns.

10. What part of the information that we submit will appear publicly?

The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments relies on transparency by all parties, and therefore, all information submitted in the form will be made publicly available in the registry.

11. What will happen with The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments once the Conference has concluded?

The Ocean Conference Registry of Commitments remains open after the Conference, with all the details of voluntary commitments publicly accessible online. This facilitates continued information sharing, creation of SDG14 partnerships, and replication and upscaling of good practice as well as ongoing analysis of SDG 14 gaps and challenges.  The list of voluntary commitments made before 9 June 2017 is part of the report of the Conference, which will be part of the United Nations Official Document System (, also publicly available.

12. We have registered our voluntary commitment in the online registration form. How long will it take before it appears in The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments?

The Conference Secretariat will perform an editorial review of the submission to ensure that it adheres to the established criteria (see above). If there are any missing elements, the Secretariat will contact you through email to follow up. The Secretariat aims to publish new voluntary commitments after a maximum of two working days after the registration. 

13. If we have already registered a voluntary commitment, is it possible to update it?

Yes, you are encouraged to log in to your voluntary commitment and update it. 

14.  We are thinking of developing a voluntary commitment at a national/country level – where can we get further help?

  • The official Conference website provides information on the criteria for a voluntary commitment. 
  • The Ocean Action Hub provides information, resources, networks, and how to connect with other stakeholders to support the development of voluntary commitments. 
  • The United Nations Resident Coordinator Offices and the UNDP Country Offices in your country can also provide information and technical support.     

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