Since its inception in 2014, the Our Ocean Conference has served as a beacon of hope for ocean conservation, rallying governments, international organizations, academia, the private sector, and NGOs to make tangible commitments towards safeguarding our oceans. With over 2160 commitments totaling nearly US$ 130 billion, the conference has played a pivotal role in galvanizing global action to address ocean threats. Notably, the recent 9th Our Ocean Conference, hosted in Athens underscored the importance of collective efforts in shaping a sustainable future for our marine ecosystems.

The 9th Our Ocean Conference in Greece witnessed unprecedented participation, with over 3,500 attendees from 130 countries and international organizations. This edition marked a significant milestone with more than 470 new commitments amounting to over $11 billion, demonstrating a renewed commitment to addressing pressing ocean issues. Greece’s leadership in environmental stewardship was evident through its ambitious 21 commitments announced during the conference. From the creation of marine protected areas to the reduction of marine pollution and decarbonization efforts, Greece pledged comprehensive measures totaling more than $800 million.

Among the key Mediterranean players at this monumental gathering, which we are very proud to say were many, was the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE). Its active participation and influential voice resonated across various pivotal discussions.

At the forefront of tackling one of the most pressing challenges, MIO-ECSDE moderated the Plenary Session focusing on Confronting Plastic Pollution. This session delved into strategies and solutions to mitigate the pervasive threat of plastic pollution haunting our oceans. Furthermore, Prof. Scoullos, Chairperson of MIO-ECSDE steered the Plenary Session dedicated to exploring the challenges and viable solutions concerning the Mediterranean Sea, one of the 4 key focus areas of this year’s OOC edition. The discussions brought forth insights crucial for addressing the unique environmental concerns of this vital marine ecosystem as well as the key elements for the green transition of the Mediterranean.

In addition to shaping discussions at the plenary level, MIO-ECSDE organized and participated in two Round Table side events. The first event, themed “Ocean Literacy – Blue Skills – Youth Engagement and Empowerment,” underscored the importance of educating and empowering the younger generation in ocean conservation efforts. The second roundtable, titled “Navigating Change: Progress and Prospects in Fighting Marine Plastic Pollution,” shed light on the ongoing initiatives and future strategies in combatting marine plastic pollution.

MIO-ECSDE’s engagement extended beyond its own events, with active participation in several of the 70+ side events and over 180 bilateral meetings where its member organizations also showcased their advancements and initiatives.

As the 9th Our Ocean Conference concluded, the baton of ocean conservation passed to South Korea for the 2025 edition, ensuring that the momentum towards a healthier ocean continues unabated.

Reflecting on the conference, MIO-ECSDE expresses gratitude for the opportunity to connect with fellow ocean enthusiasts, fostering meaningful discussions, and committing to urgent actions for ocean conservation.

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