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US, EU pledge billions in ocean aid at int’l conference

A global conference to save the world’s oceans has kicked off in Panama with urgent calls to adopt an international protection treaty, along with billions of dollars in US and EU pledges for research, monitoring and conservation.

Political and business leaders, environmental activists and academics at the two-day conference on Thursday are grappling with how best to address a multitude of threats facing the oceans – from climate change and pollution to overfishing and mining.

The Our Ocean Conference is “so incredibly important because it is a conference that is focused on action, not on talk. It’s about real commitments and real solutions,” White House climate envoy John Kerry said at the meeting’s opening on Thursday.

The former secretary of state announced US commitments of nearly $6 billion across 77 projects to protect the high seas in 2023, including technical cooperation to facilitate “green shipping corridors”.

In a similar spirit, the European Union announced it would dedicate 816.5 million euros ($865 million) to ocean-related projects this year.

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