From 5-9 June 2017, the United Nations Headquarters in New York hosted its first-ever Ocean Conference, attracting thousands of government officials and institutions to discuss implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans. The conference’s main outcome — a Call for Action — included MPAs within a broader call for the “use of effective and appropriate area-based management tools” to better conserve marine biodiversity.

Arguably the more newsworthy outcome of the conference was the hundreds of commitments and announcements made by governments and organizations, several of which pertained to MPAs. For a full list of the 1374 voluntary commitments (MPA and non-MPA), click here. A synopsis of the MPA-related ones, including several to designate or expand protected areas, is here.

The UN announced that commitments made at the conference indicate the world is on track to protect over 10% of the globe’s marine areas by 2020. (This does not mean that all coastal nations will meet the target for their own waters; rather, some individual nations are protecting much more than 10%.) According to the conference’s closing press release, conference commitments will add 4.4% of the world’s marine area to existing MPA coverage when eventually designated.

Some of the announcements and commitments made during the conference included:

In addition, various new MPA-related publications were launched at the conference, including: