As the Our Ocean Greece Conference draws to a close on its second day of discussions and negotiations between heads of state, non-profit organizations, private companies and a host of other stakeholders, the Greek government boasts that this year’s conference secured an additional 469 new commitments worth $11.3 billion, that aim to restore the healthy status of our seas and oceans.

Held between April 15-17 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, the 9th Our Ocean conference, known as OOC9, kicked off with a youth leadership summit and a film festival, which was followed by high level diplomatic meetings and side events. It attracted more than 3,800 participants representing more than 119 countries.

The contributions from this year’s conference brings the total number of commitments earned since its commencement to 2600, worth a grand tally of $140 billion.

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 with the aim of filling in the then-existing gap in global ocean governance. It travels to a different country of the world each year.

The key priority areas of each Our Ocean Conference are: marine protected areas, sustainable blue economies, climate change, maritime security, sustainable fisheries and marine pollution.

This year, the conference had a special focus on four additional topics of particular relevance to Greece including; sustainable tourism in island and coastal environments, marine plastic and microplastics pollution, green shipping, and the green transition in the Mediterranean.

Next year, the OOC10 conference will be held in the Republic of Korea and, on the occasion of its 10-year anniversary, the conference will conduct its first stock take report to assess which commitments have actually been achieved.