On Oct. 29 and 30, WCS is participating in the annual Our Ocean Conference, held this year in Bali, Indonesia. Started by then-Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014, the event is focused on real progress for the sea. In Europe in 2017, governments, companies, foundations, NGOs, and others made 437 tangible, measurable commitments, including over 8 billion of dollars of financial pledges and more than 1.5 million square miles of additional Marine Protected Areas.
Jason Patlis, WCS Executive Director of Marine Conservation, says he hopes this year
that, "the urgency of bold, transformative action is realized, and that commitments not only advance marine conservation, but accelerate and transform it."
WCS: Why is this conference important?
Jason Patlis: It’s unique among multilateral conferences: held annually, it seeks to drive meaningful commitments towards ocean conservation and stewardship among governments, businesses, conservation organizations and other stakeholders.
WCS: What are WCS's priorities for the event?
Jason Patlis: Our priorities are to advance our conservation efforts through commitments we will be announcing, showcasing our work, and networking with key partners who convene from around the world.
WCS: What events will WCS be participating in?
Jason Patlis: We will be making the WCS announcements during the plenary, as well as cohosting a number of side events and receptions. In addition, we are very active in supporting the Youth Leadership Summit—an element of the OOC that has grown in significance in recent years—by sponsoring several young Indonesian conservation leaders to attend, and sponsoring a luncheon. Lastly, we are one of the organizers of a Pavilion for Indonesian NGOs which will showcase for the attendees the strong conservation leadership in the host country.
OurWCS: What will WCS be announcing?
Jason Patlis: We are announcing two commitments and supporting a few others:
- A 4-year initiative to boost protection of the world's climate-resilient reef ecosystems where WCS works and promote efforts to measure benefits to coastal communities that rely on these ecosystems for livelihoods, health, and food security.
- A major 10-year shark and ray strategy that will establish comprehensive, science-based management programs in 10 seascapes around the world. This inititiatve will improve the conservation status of 75 percent of the world's sharks and rays.
- We're supporting a number of partner governments in their commitments. This includes forthcoming announcements by Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
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