Peter Thomson, President of the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) met with Paul Holthus, CEO of the World Ocean Council (WOC), to collaborate on fostering private sector input, commitments and participation in The Ocean Conference at the United Nations in New York (5-9 June 2017).

The Ocean Conference encourages “Voluntary Initiatives” - efforts voluntarily undertaken by stakeholders, including the private sector, individually or in partnership, that aim to contribute to SDG 14 implementation. Voluntary commitments can be registered online here. The Guidance Note on Voluntary Commitments for SDG 14 is available here.

President Thomson said, “The ocean’s health is fundamental to the future of the planet, and the private sector is critical to the future of the ocean. The international community will come together at The Ocean Conference at the U.N. in June to focus on the urgent action and partnerships needed to support the health of the ocean and ensure its resources are sustainably managed.”

“We encourage all stakeholders, especially industry, to submit Voluntary Commitments as a demonstration of important efforts being made, or soon to be underway, for advancing the ocean’s sustainable management. I am pleased to have the support and assistance of the World Ocean Council to engage the global ocean business community in this critical effort.”

For a video message from the UNGA President to the WOC and the global ocean business community, click here.

Paul Holthus, World Ocean Council CEO, added that, “The WOC is working with closely with the U.N. General Assembly President to advance industry participation in The Ocean Conference and the submission of Voluntary Commitments for SDG 14. We are engaging with the ocean business community to develop the ocean sustainable development pledge for companies to sign on to in 2017 and on SDG targets and indicators that are practical and achievable.”

The U.N. Ocean Conference theme is “Our Oceans, Our Future: Partnering for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14”. SDG 14 addresses the need to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

The Ocean Conference outputs will be an intergovernmentally agreed "Call for Action" to support the implementation of Goal 14, a report of the partnership dialogues, and a list of voluntary commitments for the implementation of Goal 14.

The WOC is working with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and U.N. Global Compact (UNGC) to ensure private sector input and participation in The Ocean Conference.

Following last month’s Ocean Conference preparatory meeting, a “zero draft” of the Call for Action was made available by the President.

Companies and industry organizations are encouraged to contact the WOC at for more information on The Ocean Conference, including voluntary commitments.

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