U.S. Commitments Announced at Our Ocean 2018

U.S. Commitments Announced at Our Ocean 2018 (Department of State file photo)

During the Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia, the United States proudly announced 15 commitments. Together these commitments will strengthen sustainable management of marine resources; prevent plastic and other debris from entering the ocean; support research and observation of ocean ecosystems; and foster partnerships promoting maritime security and a sustainable blue economy.

  • The United States announced two new five-year programs in Madagascar, the USAID Hay Tao and USAID Mikajy programs, to improve national policies and community-based management of marine and coastal resources with a focus on the Menabe, Sava, and Analanjirofo regions. The Hay Tao activity will support improvements in the enabling environment for community-based biodiversity conservation and sustainable development approaches, while the Mikajy activity will support site-specific conservation work to reduce threats to biodiversity and establish the groundwork for more sustainable biodiversity-friendly and climate-resilient economic development. Anticipated level of funding, subject to availability of funds, is USD 13 million over five years, 2018-2023.
  • The United States announced a new five-year regional activity, USAID’s Central American Regional Coastal Biodiversity Project, to conserve biodiversity in targeted coastal-marine areas and associated upland ecosystems by enhancing resilient biodiversity-dependent economic opportunities, sustainable use of natural resources, governance of natural resources, and evidence-based monitoring. The activity focuses on the coastal ecosystems of the Rio Paz (El Salvador and Guatemala), Rio Motagua (Guatemala and Honduras), and the Honduran Miskito Coast. Anticipated level of funding, subject to availability of funds, is USD 10-14 million over five years, 2017-2022.
  • The United States announced a three-year collaboration between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support regional governments, local institutions, and on-the-ground projects to reduce threats to biodiversity in the Caribbean. Through this partnership, small grants are provided to local environmental organizations for marine and coastal biodiversity conservation, combating illegal trade of wildlife, and building the capacity of local conservation leaders. Anticipated funding level, subject to the availability of funds, is USD 2.5 million over 3 years, 2017-2020.
  • The United States announced USD 5 million from NOAA for ocean observing technology to support the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS) 2020 Project, an international effort to improve our understanding of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the ocean’s role in weather and climate. The TPOS-2020 Project is part of the international Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and a regional pilot for the World Meteorological Organization.
  • The United States announced that, for 2018, it has allocated USD 839,000 through the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Peaceful Uses Initiative to the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) located at the Environment Laboratories in Monaco. Since 2010, the United States has allocated a total of more than USD 3.2 million to the OA-ICC.
  • The United States announced the EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) program, a joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration-National Science Foundation effort to advance predictive understanding of the flow of organic carbon from the well-lit, upper ocean and its fate in the underlying “twilight zone” below 200 meters depth. EXPORTS will provide fundamental information for managers and policy-makers linking carbon cycling, the state of global ecosystems, and climate variability to support a sustainable ocean economy. EXPORTS completed the first phase of field work in the Northeast Pacific in 2018. Additional field work and a data synthesis and modelling phase are planned for coming years.
  • The Waitt Foundation and the United States (National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office) announced the Marine Conservation and Maritime Security Coalition (MCMSC), a sustainable, long-term partnership between the maritime security and ocean conservation communities that provides an enduring and flexible platform for addressing the maritime information needs of partners within the Global Maritime Community of Interest (GMCOI). Through an online collaboration space and catalyzing events, the MCMSC will facilitate the GMCOI’s design and implementation of solutions to more effectively counter a range of maritime challenges including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, piracy, and human trafficking. The first event will be a summit February 27-28 in San Diego, California, where the Waitt Foundation and NMIO will work with several partner countries and the GMCOI to design and implement pilot projects to address their priority maritime information needs.
  • The United States announced USD 1 million in funding over two years, 2018-2020, to help prevent marine debris from entering the ocean through the development of environmentally sustainable waste management systems and reductions in the amount of fishing gear abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded in the ocean.
  • The United States announced two new grants under USAID’s Municipal Waste Recycling Program to reduce plastics in marine protected areas in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, and the Palawan Island in the Philippines. Grants will support the efforts of the Yayasan Misool Baseftin organization in the Raja Ampat Islands and the city of Sorong, and the Candis III Marketing Cooperative out of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Island. These new grants are funded through USAID’s Municipal Waste Recycling Program announced at Our Ocean Conference 2017. Anticipated level of funding, subject to the availability of funds, is USD 500,000 over two years, 2018-2020.
  • The United States announced the release of a documentary, The Sea That Sustains Us, which features Timorese residents addressing the issue of pollution in the ocean. The film, produced by USAID and inspired by the findings of a three-year NOAA study of Timor-Leste’s nearshore marine environment, illustrates the real world consequences of plastic pollution in the world’s ocean waters. The film is at once a celebration of the biodiversity of Timor’s waters, a warning about the threats they face, and a call to action to protect a resource that is integral to their lives.
  • The United States announced the new USAID Fish Right Program in the Philippines which seeks to increase fish stocks in key areas by improving fisheries management and building the resilience of fishing communities. The five-year cooperative agreement to the University of Rhode Island is expected to benefit up to 2 million Filipinos in coastal communities in Calamianes, Southern Negros, and Visayan Seas. The program will also ensure that women and other marginalized groups benefit from and are empowered to participate in conserving and managing coastal and fisheries resources. Anticipated funding level, subject to availability of funds, is USD 25 million over five years, 2018-2023.
  • The United States announced additional support for biodiversity conservation for Northern Hispaniola through USAID’s Caribbean Marine Biodiversity Program. The activity will support marine biodiversity conservation in Haiti and the Dominican Republic at the community-based and policy levels, working with Ministries of Environment and related government and non-governmental stakeholders. The program will continue the ongoing development of a bi-national action plan for sustainable fisheries management. An additional USD 1 million was made available to the Caribbean Marine Biodiversity Program for activities in 2018-2019.
  • The United States announced USD 720,000 from NOAA to support the third decadal “OceanObs” conference in Hawaii, September 16-20, 2019. This conference will highlight progress on ocean observations from space to the sea floor over the past decade and will chart innovative solutions to address societal needs for ocean information. It will be a foundation for integrating and innovating research, observations, modeling, and services in support of developing the UN Decade for Ocean Science.
  • The United States announced new support for the Argo program, a global array of profiling floats that is part of the international Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). In 2019, NOAA will fund the deployment and calibration of profiling floats equipped with biogeochemical sensors as part of the U.S. contribution to TPOS-2020. NOAA has been a central supporter of the Argo program, contributing approximately one-half of the global array since 2001.
  • The United States announced three research initiatives on coastal wetland ecosystems. The Smithsonian’s MarineGEO program is leading a new USD 1.2 million collaborative research project using innovative research techniques to understand and stop the spread of eelgrass disease along the west coast of North America. MarineGEO and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) have created a Collaborative Network for Coastal Wetland Carbon Cycle Synthesis to advance coastal wetland carbon science by making data on coastal wetland carbon stocks publicly available and by hosting workshops to synthesize data, numerical modeling, and expert opinion to improve estimates of coastal carbon fluxes. Marine GEO, SERC, and the Global Genome Initiative of the National Museum of Natural History are conducting a field campaign to build a biodiversity inventory of the Chesapeake Bay and mid-Atlantic coastal region of the United States.