17 May CTC Goes to Our Ocean Conference (OCC) in Greece

On April 15-17, 2024, CTC Executive Director, Rili Djohani, attended the 9th Our Ocean Conference (OOC) 2024 in Athens, Greece, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. Preceded by an opening remark from John Kerry, OOC provides an opportunity for ocean leaders and stakeholders to discuss and address the challenges our ocean faces and to demonstrate ocean conservation leadership by making commitments on policy, science, funding, partnership, and collaboration that will set us on a path to a sustainable future.

The three-day conference is a high-level gathering for learning, networking, and strengthening partnerships. A very informative Indonesian session on ‘Advancing Sustainable Ocean Governance: Integrating Blue Initiatives for Conservation and Prosperity in Indonesia’ was moderated by Bappenas with speakers from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, Climate Change Trust Fund, Indonesian Ocean Justice, Konservasi Indonesia (KI).

There was a strong international NGO representation and alliances including Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Mission Blue, Seattle Aquarium, The Nature Conservancy, WWF, among others. During the conference, CTC also had the opportunity to meet with the Timor Leste government and several donors including Blue Action Fund, Packard Foundation, Minderoo Foundation, Mission Blue, Coral Triangle Conservation Fund (CTCF), and Global Coral Reef Fund (GCRF).

“OOC has evolved into a one-of-a-kind conference focused on ocean conservation with an effective integration of a formal plenary program, informal side-events and evening activities maximizing sharing, learning, networking and creating a strong sense of purpose and community as well as an impressive platform to announce new commitments to protect the oceans” says Djohani.

By the end of the conference, delegates pledge their commitments around six themes the conference focuses on, including marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, sustainable blue economies, marine pollution, climate change, and maritime security. The Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit was also held parallel to the main conference, starting the day before on the 15th of April. Themed “Ocean Literacy – Blue Skills – Youth Engagement and Empowerment”, the roundtable discusses what Youth Leadership Skills are necessary for blue transition, and what constitutes an enabling environment for a young person to undertake action for the ocean.  This side event provides an opportunity for young leaders to present formal and non-formal channels for leadership skills alongside their successes and challenges as well as enabling ways for them to contribute meaningfully to the blue economy.

The Our Ocean Conference (OOC) was first launched under the initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014, aiming to fill in the then-existing gap in global ocean governance. Since then, it has gradually become a forum for dialogue that brings together governments, international organizations, academia, the private sector, and NGOs that share a common vision for the protection of the oceans and take action to support this vision.

Djohani emphasized that “although a lot of new funding and commitments were made again at the OOC this year, it is critical to accelerate the pace of implementation and focus on both the numbers, effectiveness and sustainability of MPAs”.

“CTC will continue to implement its strong commitment to 30×30 by supporting the planning and implementation of resilient MPAs, scaling up as well as accelerating capacity building programs in the Coral Triangle region with partners and increase public ocean awareness and engagement through our learning Center for Marine Conservation in Bali”, she added.

CTC has actively been participating in the Our Ocean Conferences for some period of time: the 3rd OOC in Washington DC in 2016 and the 5th OOC in Bali where CTC announced its commitments on MPAs, sustainable fisheries, and the establishment of a CTC’s learning hub: the Center for Marine Conservation. We now look forward to taking part in the 10th Our Ocean Conference set to take place in Busan, South Korea, in April 2025.

CTC will also increase its support to the Indonesian government in transitioning to a “Blue Economy”, striking a new balance between sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem as well as addressing some key challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change, unsustainable fishing, and marine plastic pollution.

Writers: Adam Putra, Olivia Sope, Rili Djohani
Photos: Rili Djohani/CTC

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