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The Ocean Panel at the Our Ocean Conference, Panama

The 8th Our Ocean Conference is taking place in Panama City on 2-3 March. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Our Ocean, Our Connection’ with a focus on developing the blue economy, marine protected areas and marine pollution.

Feb 27, 2023

The Our Ocean Conference is an important annual event in the ocean calendar. It brings together world leaders, private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders to discuss the preservation of marine resources, promotion of sustainable use, and education of the public about the ocean.

This year’s Our Ocean Conference, the eighth so far, takes place in Panama City on 2-3 March. The theme of this year’s event is Our Ocean, Our Connection, demonstrating the importance of joined-up action to protect the ocean with the following key themes:

  • The importance of implementing well-connected systems of effective area-based management measures, including Marine Protected Areas (MPAs);
  • The development of the global blue economy;
  • Proposing innovative solutions to address marine pollution.


Typically, the conference is an opportunity for national governments and other decision-makers to demonstrate action against commitments to safeguard the ocean, so it is expected that lots of announcements will be made over the two days.

Ocean Panel countries will convene at the conference to discuss, share and develop strategies on each of the key areas, as well as a combined focus on sustainable ocean plans and coastal and marine tourism.

Sustainable Ocean Plans

Prior to the Conference, members of the Ocean Panel are attending an Ocean Action 2030 Joint Learning Event from 28 February to 1 March, to galvanise progress towards sustainable ocean plans. These plans are unique to every country and aim to guide the public and private sector on how to sustainably manage national waters to advance long-term economic and social development by protecting marine ecosystems that underpin development. These plans will include key projects including MPA implementation as well as marine pollution – two major priorities at the Our Ocean Conference – as well as many other projects that span key industries such as tourism, energy and food security.

This joint learning event provides an opportunity for countries aiming to draft and implement sustainable ocean plans to learn from one another and discuss difficulties, opportunities, and insights.

Sustainable Coastal and Marine Tourism

During the conference on 3 March, the Ocean Panel will host a side event: Sustainable, Regenerative and Resilient Coastal and Marine Tourism as the Foundation of Sustainable Ocean Economies. The event will feature representatives from Ocean Panel countries and industry to explore examples that showcase the potential of sustainable tourism in building a sustainable ocean economy.

Coastal and marine tourism represents at least 50 percent of total global tourism. It is the largest economic sector for most small island developing states and coastal states and is highly dependent on the quality of coastal and marine ecosystems to attract visitors.

Research has found that to make a shift to sustainable coastal and marine tourism, opportunities must be taken within the industry that: reduce the negative impact of tourism on the local environment, economy and community; regenerate the environment, economy and community; and build resilience to threats, future shocks and crises.

For more updates and insights from the Our Ocean Conference, follow @OceanPanel on Twitter.

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