Palau Correspondent


KOROR, Palau — It’s all system go for Palau’s hosting of the 7th Our Ocean Conference scheduled for April 13 to 14.

In an online pre-event by the Sasakawa Foundation on March 16, President Surangel S. Whipps Jr. said the country is honored to host the event which is expected to bring hundreds of delegates from throughout the world, including U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry.

Among the numerous speakers will be Francesco La Camera, director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency; Antha Williams, environment lead for Bloomberg Philanthropies; Duane Fraser, board member of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.


“The Pacific islands have been at the forefront of the climate change impacts. We have been hit by storms, sea-level rise, droughts, you name it, we have it. And now, all of those lead to huge economic losses. In fact, it even affects our tourism industry, because it destroys our coral reefs, kills our jellyfish and we’re concerned about the impacts that will have to the tuna of stocks,” Whipps said.

The conference will take place in a variety of venues in Koror that comprise what is being called the Global Village, but the plenary sessions will be at the Palau National Gymnasium, renovated with $8 million in grants from Taiwan.

The event will focus on marine protected areas, marine pollution, ocean-based measures against climate change, the blue economy, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and marine security through the theme “Our ocean, our people, our prosperity.”

Each one of six panel discussions at conference “will reflect the broader theme to amplify traditional ocean conservation knowledge and highlight vulnerable ocean communities.”

At the COP26 in Glasgow in October last year, Whips said the conference is “about a thriving and vibrant ocean that is  essential to the community’s livelihoods and especially in places like Palau.”

“We’re just excited to be able to partner with the United States on this conference,’ he said. mbj