President Tommy Remengesau Jr. is off to the Our Ocean conference in Malta scheduled from 5 - 6 October 2017. The European Union in a press release said that "Our Ocean conference aims to inspire joint solutions and ambitious commitments in managing seas and oceans — which cover 75% of our planet." Over 700 participants are expected to attend, from more than 60 countries, including more than 50 Heads of State or Government and ministers. Our Ocean 2017 will address the themes of marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate change.
This year, it will also offer a distinctively European flavor by introducing the themes of blue economy and maritime security. Our Ocean will engage participants from around the globe who will make significant commitments. Remengesau in his address before the United Nations General Assembly last month said Palau is committed to achieving the global 2030 agenda to help protect the oceans.
We have created one of the largest protected areas in the World. Within this context, we emphasize our support for a new Implementing Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity on Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. We have also given our support to the 2016 IUCN Motion 53, promising to work towards designating and effectively implementing at least 30 percent of their national waters as marine protected areas by 2030. In addition, we have committed to action on addressing marine pollution in all forms," Remengesau said. In 2016, Palau signed into law the establishment of the National Marine Sanctuary. The Sanctuary, which encompasses Palau's entire EEZ, prohibits all extractive activities, including foreign fishing and mining in 80 percent of the area, and the remaining 20 percent of the sanctuary will be developed into a domestic-only fishing zone.