The Republic of Palau and the United States opened the 7th Our Ocean Conference (OOC) today, marking the first time this event has been held in a small island developing state (SIDS). For SIDS, this underscores the critical role and leadership of indigenous peoples and local communities in tackling the climate change and ocean crises.
Palau and the United States organized this gathering of more than 500 representatives from foreign governments, intergovernmental organizations, academic and research institutions, the private sector, and civil society organizations. Among the participants is a special group of youth delegates who are showcasing their leadership and youth-led initiatives for ocean action.
President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry, who are co-hosting the conference, opened the conference, highlighting the Pacific’s long history of ocean stewardship, and called on participants to confront the challenges of the global climate-ocean crisis with a new level of urgency.