KOROR (Office of the Palau President) — Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. and his delegation traveled to Malta to attend the “Our Oceans” conference hosted by the European Union and held from October 5 to 6, 2017.
The conference focused on the key ocean issues including marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts on the ocean.
The conference attracted over a thousand participants including high-level attendees from governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.
The first of the now annual conferences was hosted by then-United States Secretary of State, John Kerry in 2014. The subsequent conferences were held in Valparaiso, Chile and then again in the U.S.
While in Malta, President Remengesau, Minister Umiich Sengebau and Ambassador Uludong were able to attend many high-level events, bilateral meetings, panels and gatherings including meetings with Prince Albert II of Monaco and former Secretary Kerry.
A highlight of the event was the commitment of the European Union to contribute 1 million euros or $1.17 million to Palau for El Niño climate and drought mitigation. Among the distinguished presenters at the conference included Prince Charles of England, Dr. Sylvia Earle and E.U. Commissioner of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.
The annual conference seeks to showcase the state of the world’s oceans and provide a platform for governments, and private sector, non-government and civil society organizations to make announcements and commitments to further the protection of the ocean.
The next two countries to host the conference will be Indonesia in 2018 and Norway in 2019. Hosting this prestigious event is a monumental undertaking involving thousands of people.
During the closing plenary session of the meeting, President Remengesau and the entire Palau delegation were proud to announce that Palau was successful in its bid to secure the hosting of the Our Oceans Conference in 2020.
Participants in the Malta Our Oceans conference were able to announce $9 billion in public-private partnerships and the Pacific Islands receive $45 million in support of sustainable fisheries and climate change support.
President Remengesau stated that, “The announcement that Palau will be hosting Our Oceans in 2020 is truly an honor that we accept with great pride. We accept this honor on behalf of the entire Pacific family and we will be reaching out to all Pacific island countries to join Palau in this great endeavor.”
Palau plans to work closely with the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, and engage the entire Pacific community as well as government, private sector and non- government partners in the planning and logistics of hosting the event.
In his statement to the Conference, President Remengesau also noted that, “We are confident that the Pacific will be a worthy host to such a prestigious gathering and that each and every one of the participants will be able to see the issues that the Oceans are facing from a Pacific perspective and hopefully gain a renewed sense of what we are all fighting to protect.”