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Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum Drives Ocean Action Beyond Commitments to Implementation

Athens, Greece (15 April, 2024) - The Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum convened ahead of the Our Ocean Conference in Athens, Greece, to discuss pathways for successfully advancing sustainable ocean management. Hosted by the Waitt Institute and the U.S. Department of State, the second Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum Roundtable gathered world leaders to outline strategies for achieving the collective goal of protecting at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.


Waitt Institute Executive Director, Dr. Kathryn Mengerink, moderated the high-level discussion.

Members of the Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum include high level representation from Bermuda, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Maldives, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu. The Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum provides a knowledge-sharing platform for island nations who are working to protect and sustainably manage their marine resources, promoting economic growth and resilience for current and future generations.


The inaugural Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum was launched at the United Nations Ocean Conference 2022 to establish an impact network of like-minded ocean leaders to learn from each other and share successes related to marine protection, Marine Spatial Planning, Blue Economy development, and sustainable finance. 


Hon. Secretary John Kerry praised Blue Prosperity Leaders.

Hon. Secretary John Kerry stated, “When we protect and restore the oceans, we’re preserving waters that are literally essential for life on earth. There’s no bigger challenge. Ten years ago we set out to build the Our Ocean Conference movement as a galvanizing force for ambition. Today, governments, philanthropies, storytellers, and NGOs are doing more than ever before, proven by 2,100 pledges valued at $128 billion. But there’s no time to rest because the scale and scope of the challenge has grown, and our commitment must keep growing just to meet the moment. Less than three percent of the global ocean is currently fully or highly protected, and ninety percent of coral reefs will be threatened by 2030. Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum members are demonstrating bold action on their ocean commitments, and it’s critical that we all double down in the years ahead.”


Ted Waitt, Founder & Chairman of the Waitt Institute and Waitt Foundation said, “As 2030 approaches and the ocean faces compounding threats, we must take urgent action to implement marine protection through designation and enforcement. The Blue Prosperity Leaders are putting in the work to make their commitments a reality.”


Acting Assistant Secretary JR Littlejohn cohosted the Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum.

JR Littlejohn, U.S. Department of State Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, stated, “Marine protected areas have the highest potential to restore and protect biodiversity and a healthy ocean, benefiting people, communities, and sustainable economic growth. The U.S. Department of State is proud to co-host the second Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum and enhance collaboration with ocean leaders across sectors to mobilize effective action for sustainable ocean management.”


Hon. Walter Roban, JP, MP served as the inaugural Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum Chair.

Hon. Minister Walter Roban, Bermuda Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, served as Chair of the Leaders Forum since its inception. “Bermuda released our final draft Blue Prosperity Plan to the public last week which incorporated extensive community and stakeholder feedback. This milestone represents the culmination of a four-year planning and public review process led by the people of Bermuda for a better ocean future.”


Hon. Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, Minister of Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was named the 2024-2025 Chair of the Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum. “I am deeply honored to accept this role, and am excited about sharing Samoa’s successes and facilitating knowledge sharing amongst the Blue Prosperity leaders. Through close collaboration with our local communities, Samoa is crafting a Marine Spatial Plan aimed at safeguarding 30% of our ocean, ensuring the preservation of our way of life for generations to come.”


The dialogue was strengthened by representatives from National Geographic Pristine Seas, Oceano Azul Foundation, Blue Nature Alliance, Oceans 5, Dynamic Planet, Conservation International, and youth delegates from the Federated States of Micronesia and Portugal. 


About the Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum

Launched at the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, the Blue Prosperity Leaders Forum is a network established to unite like-minded High Level leaders, ocean champions, and technical experts working to safeguard the ocean and its valuable resources.


About Blue Prosperity Coalition

The Blue Prosperity Coalition is a global network of organizations working together to provide support and technical expertise to committed governments around the world in implementing sustainable ocean plans.

The Blue Prosperity Coalition has partnerships with the Azores, Bermuda, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Maldives, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.


About the Waitt Institute

The Waitt Institute is a non-profit that partners with governments and local communities to create sustainable ocean plans to benefit people, the economy, and the environment for today and future generations. 


The Waitt Institute is a founding member and organizing body of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, which currently has Blue Prosperity partnerships with the Azores, Bermuda, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Maldives, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.


About the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES)

The mission of the U.S. Department of State’s OES Bureau is to provide American leadership, diplomacy, and scientific cooperation to conserve and protect the global environment, ocean, and space for the prosperity, peace, and security of this and future generations.


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