Palau hosts UN workshop on assessment of the state of the world ocean

Palau is hosting a two-day regional Workshop for the North Pacific Region in support of the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects. Over 32 experts from various ocean-related disciplines have gathered at Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) with the main goal of facilitating the preparation of a second world ocean assessment. The second world ocean assessment will be finalized in 2020 and will encompass the status of the world’s oceans by evaluating trends and identifying gaps since the release of the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment (World Ocean Assessment 1) in 2015. The Workshop is the first in a series of workshops in support of the second cycle of the Regular Process.

Chairing the workshop on behalf of the government of Palau is Yimnang Golbuu, Chief Executive Officer of PICRC.  The United Nations is represented by Ms. Vita Onwuasoanya, from the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), Office of Legal Affairs which is the secretariat for the Regular Process.

Honorable Minister Umiich Sengebau of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism gave welcoming and opening remarks on behalf of the Government of Palau. In his opening remarks, Minister Sengebau stresses Palau’s never-ending efforts in environmental conservation, “we take pride in our efforts to enforce conservation policies and we are fortunate that our leaders and policy-makers rely on the scientific work being done by PICRC and other environmental agencies to inform policy decisions.  This workshop and the resulting report will serve as a useful guide for Palau as we work to ensure that resources are maintained for future generations.”

In line with Minister Sengebau’s statement, Ms. Onwuasoanya noted that “the importance of these workshops cannot be over-emphasized, with respect to addressing the theme of capacity-building. They will be instrumental in, inter alia, informing the collection of regional-level information and data for the preparation of the second world ocean assessment.”

Over the course of two-days, the experts will discuss the process for drafting the second world ocean assessment, including the intended structure of the various chapters for the assessment, consideration of selected chapters and sections of chapters of the Outline for the assessment and identifying the information and capacity- gaps that need to be filled. Presentations and interventions by the experts will also shed light on key issues and challenges being faced by States from the region in regards to conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment. By the end of the second day, all the information gathered will be summarized and the writing teams for the various chapters will be prepared to commence drafting of the second world oceans assessment.