UN Ocean Conference 2022

United Nations
March 1, 2024

The United Nations Ocean conference was met in Lisbon – Portugal cohosted by the Government of Kenya. The five-day conferences on the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Treaty was aimed at laying major structural sustainable developments goals involving green technology and innovative uses of main recourses. It also addressed threats of health, ecology, economy, and governance of ocean such as acidification, marine littler, pollution, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and the loss of habitats and biodiversity. More than 6,000 participants, including 24 Heads of State and Government, and over 2,000 representatives of civil society attended the Conference, advocating for urgent and concrete actions to tackle the ocean crisis.

However, a unanimous decision to finally agree on a treaty by the member states did not reach a conclusion.

One of the key pillars of the BBNJ treaty is to allow the creation of marine protected areas which covers 30% of the Earth Ocean by 2030. The disagreements are on the process of creating these protected areas on how to implement a requirement for environmental impact assessments. Several Nations such as the pacific islands of Palau and Fiji expressed concerns on deep-sea mining, citing environmental issues and lack of sufficient scientific data.

Voluntary Commitments Snapshot *


  • The Protecting Our Planet Challenge will invest at least USD 1 billion to support the creation, expansion and management of marine protected area and Indigenous and locally governed marine and coastal areas by 2030.
  • The European Investment Bank will extend an additional EUR 150 million across the Caribbean Region as part of the Clean Oceans Initiative to improve climate resilience, water management and solid waste management.
  • The Global Environment Facility approved a $25 million grant towards Colombia’s marine protected areas.
  • The Development Bank of Latin America announced a voluntary commitment of USD 1.2 billion to support projects to benefit the ocean in the region.
  • Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance announced a multimillion-dollar global search for the next generation of projects to build resilience of coastal communities and finance through finance and insurance products.

Marine Protected Areas and Pollution

  • Portugal committed to ensure that 100% of the marine area under Portuguese sovereignty or jurisdiction is assessed as being in Good Environmental State and classify 30% of the national marine areas by 2030.
  • Kenya is currently developing a national blue economy strategic plan, inclusive and multistakeholder-oriented. Kenya also committed to developing a national action plan on sea-based marine plastic litter.
  • India committed to a Coastal Clean Seas Campaign and will work toward a ban on single use plastics, beginning with plastic bags.

Science and Innovation

  • Sweden will support enhanced scientific cooperation, including by providing USD 400,000 in 2022 to IOC UNESCO for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in support of work on SDG 14 target 3.
  • The Alliance of Small Island Developing States launched the Declaration for the Enhancement of Marine Scientific Knowledge, Research Capacity and Transfer of Marine Technology to Small Island Developing States.

Climate Action

  • USA and Norway announced a Green Shipping Challenge for COP 27.
  • Singapore is also championing green shipping, encouraging carbon accounting by shipping companies, and research on low-carbon maritime fuels.
  • Chile is working with specialized centres to develop a network of green corridors for maritime transport in order to achieve zero carbon shipping.

*Excerpts: https://www.un.org/en/conferences/ocean2022

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