Actions for Our Ocean - A Reflection on the 7th Our Ocean Conference

Palau is a small island nation located in the Western Pacific Ocean in Micronesia. It’s known for its pristine crystal blue waters and over 300 coral and volcanic islands filled with diverse and abundant ecosystems. I had the privilege of visiting there a few weeks ago during the 7th Our Ocean Conference. This conference gathered global leaders to discuss and commit to concrete actions to protect our ocean.

Armon Alex at the kick-off of the Our Ocean Conference.

As a member of the Youth Delegation, we acted as collaborators to international commitments and contributed our unique experiences to the conference's six action themes; climate change, sustainable fisheries, the blue economy, marine protected areas, maritime security and marine pollution. It felt like a major moment for world leaders, entrepreneurs, and visionaries to secure the health and sustainability of our ocean for our future. This year’s conference closed with 410 commitments worth $16.35 billion across the six areas of action. Since 2014, the Our Ocean Conference has mobilized more than 1,800 commitments valued at approximately $108 billion.

EarthEcho's Sean Russell and Armon Alex with NOAA Administrator, Dr. Rick Spinrad at the Conference.

I am grateful young environmentalists were able to contribute to these conversations and commitments, and I am also appreciative of being able to experience the rich culture of an island nation that is a frontline community feeling the effects of climate change. Palau’s ocean conservation practices extend back thousands of years. Being exposed to the vast intergenerational knowledge of nature based solutions enhanced my passion for helping protect our planet. If we’re going to address the biggest humanitarian crisis facing our globe, we have to encourage learning from all walks of life and cultures to develop effective climate solutions based on nature and innovation.

2022 Our Ocean Conference International Youth Delegation