Our Ocean Conference 2018

In October 2018, a cohort of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) staff traveled to Bali, Indonesia, to share knowledge, learn from world leaders and reaffirm a global commitment to the sustainable use and conservation of ocean resources.

USAID invests more than $33 million per year in sustainable fisheries and marine conservation programming in 15 countries; the Agency brought this role as an advocate for ocean-based economic development to the 2018 Our Ocean Conference.

During the conference, Carrie Thompson, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment and Judy Garber, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the Department of State, announced seven major USAID deliverables. These commitments include coastal and marine activities in critical areas of Madagascar, Central America regional (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras), Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the wider Caribbean region. Through the Municipal Waste Recycling Program, two new grants will support efforts to fight plastic pollution in Indonesia and the Philippines.

During a conference Ocean Talk, USAID launched the Agency-produced documentary, “The Sea That Sustains Us,” which features Timorese residents addressing the issue of pollution in the ocean. The film is 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. A panel discussion featuring the Government of Timor-Leste Secretary of State for Environment, Mr. Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho, followed the screening.

The Agency hosted several other Ocean Talks to lead discussions on sustainable fisheries in the Philippines and on reducing marine debris and increasing recycling through women’s empowerment in Southeast Asia. Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan Jr. and representatives from Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries also publicly launched the “State of the Sea: Indonesia” report, a landmark USAID-funded analysis of the country's coastal and marine resources.

The Our Ocean Conference highlighted the United States’ whole-of-government approach to marine, coastal and ocean conservation, with representation and collaboration between USAID, the National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Smithsonian Institute and the U.S. Department of State. USAID staff from Washington, the Regional Development Mission for Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Timor Leste participated in the event, a significant step in preserving the future of the oceans and the many benefits they provide to people around the world.