This year, Greece hosts the 9th Our Ocean Conference. The Conference takes place in Athens, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, on the 16th and 17th of April.

By hosting the 9th Our Ocean Conference Greece reaffirms its commitment to transition to a “Blue economy” to harness the advantages of a new balance between economic development (growth), social cohesion, and sustainability as well as addressing some key challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change, unsustainable fishing, marine pollution especially from plastics, and unsustainable maritime transport.

Greece and the sea

Throughout its history, Greece owes much of its potential and achievements to the sea. By mastering the marine element, Greeks became successful sea merchants and explorers who colonized the entire Mediterranean over 3,000 years ago. Continuing this tradition of seafaring for over three millennia, the Greek commercial fleet is presently the leading fleet in the world, setting an example in green shipping too.

Greece is a country inextricably linked to the sea, historically, culturally, economically, and socially. Its extensive coastline and countless islands and islets, as well as its rich maritime heritage dating back to ancient times, render Greece a maritime nation positioned at the crossroads of three continents. The country’s economic landscape is significantly shaped by maritime activities such as shipping and tourism. Almost 20% of the world merchant fleet in terms of tonnage capacity is of Greek ownership. Tourism, on the other hand, contributes more than 20% of the country’s GDP constituting the backbone of its economy. Fisheries and aquaculture are also important maritime activities.

Our Ocean Greece 2024 presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to join forces in delivering accelerated, transformative action. By coordinating our efforts and acting in a timely manner, we can achieve more than ever before and pave the way for even better outcomes in Nice 2025. By fulfilling our responsibilities towards the ocean, we ensure that our world can continue to accommodate and nourish life for generations to come, enabling us to live and thrive for the country.

Hosting the conference in Athens is not only a strategic choice but a symbolic recognition of the Mediterranean’s pivotal role in shaping the dialogue on ocean conservation. This return to the Mediterranean marks a renewed commitment to foster collaboration and innovation in a region where the convergence of diverse cultures meets the common responsibility to safeguard the ocean for the well-being and livelihoods of present and future generations.

Areas of Actions

  • Marine Protected Areas

An effectively managed network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with well-defined conservation measures that address the pressures of ocean-based activities, such as tourism, shipping, fishing, and aquaculture, is an essential instrument for safeguarding biodiversity and maintaining marine ecosystems.​

  • Sustainable Blue Economies

Blue economy can serve as a key tool to achieve sustainable use of the ocean and marine resources for sustainable growth of economic sectors that rely on the ocean, such as tourism, shipping, fishing and offshore wind energy, that will bring prosperity and employment creation, while preserving ocean ecosystem health.

  • Climate Change

Strengthening the nexus between the ocean and climate change is of paramount importance for bringing forth solutions in a holistic manner. Ocean plays a key role as climate regulator and can serve as a vehicle for clean transition, whilst climate actions aim to preserve a healthy state of the ocean.​

  • Maritime Security

Safeguarding the ocean from piracy, illegal trafficking of goods and people, illegal fishing and pollution and other illegal activities at sea is a key challenge that needs to be effectively addressed and to bring about innovative and creative efforts to improve maritime security.​

  • Sustainable Fisheries

To reap the benefits of a resilient ocean, it is essential to incorporate sustainable fisheries policies though adequate fishing methods, surveillance of prohibitions and restrictions and other integral solutions to effectively tackle overfishing that poses a direct threat to marine biodiversity.​

  • Marine Pollution

Marine pollution, such as eutrophication, marine litter, and chemical pollution, occurs from either seaborne or land-based activities and imposes significant threat to the ocean health. A more holistic approach with joint efforts is crucial to prevent and control anthropogenic pollution that ends up in the ocean.​

The Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit

The Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit, in partnership with Sustainable Ocean Alliance, coinciding with the 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens on April 15, 2024, signifies a commitment to involve and empower the next generation in tackling key challenges in areas like Marine Protected Areas, Sustainable Blue Economy, Climate-Ocean Nexus, Maritime Security, Sustainable Fisheries, and Marine Pollution. Greece will focus on sustainable tourism, green shipping, marine plastic reduction, and the green transition in the Mediterranean.

The summit aims to empower youth by emphasizing on education, employability, and sustainable practices across conference themes. It particularly concentrates on upskilling, reskilling, and fostering ocean awareness to address challenges and opportunities. The focus is on comprehensive educational initiatives, including STEM education, marine sciences, and sustainable resource management.

Highlighting the dynamic nature of ocean-related sectors, the summit stresses the significance of upskilling and reskilling programs for emerging fields like marine biotechnology and sustainable fisheries. It aims to create an adaptable workforce through continuous learning, contributing to the sustainable development of ocean-related industries.

At its core, the summit promotes ocean awareness, emphasizing the interdependence between oceans and humanity. It actively engages in educational campaigns, workshops, and programs to enhance environmental initiatives among youth, raising awareness about oceans’ ecological significance and economic opportunities.

As a platform for Youth-led Solutions, the summit fosters innovative ideas and commitments, shaping an informed, skilled, and passionate generation dedicated to oceans’ well-being. Guided by comprehensive objectives, it addresses challenges and opportunities in diverse ocean-related sectors, actively involving youth in shaping the future of Our Ocean.