Renowned for its beauty and natural resources, Liberia has a long history of maritime industry including shipping and fishing, where many local communities are dependent on marine resources and there is a dedication to improving maritime governance and sustainability, Liberia is a natural choice to host this inaugural event. By bringing together an array of experts in science, policy, management, communication, and public engagements from across the country, region, and globe, Liberia will be making a statement that the oceans matter and Liberia is leading the way in ocean stewardship in the region. The conference offers an opportunity to raise awareness, increase care and concern, fundraise for and develop partnerships around improving Liberia and West Africa’s ocean space. Specifically, it will support the implementation of 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) and Sustainable Development Goal 14, as a follow-up to the United Nations Ocean Conference held in June 2017. Perhaps most importantly, this conference will demonstrate a strategy for aligning national, regional, and local priorities related to sustainable use of ocean resources. We strongly believe that this will be a catalyst for meaningful change in the oceans of West Africa.
Conservation International envisions healthy oceans benefiting all life forms, as it is an important sector of the Liberian government. By safeguarding the ocean and coastal biodiversity we hope to maximize the long term ecological and socio-economic benefits for people of Liberia and Africa as a whole. We are therefore excited to host this conference in a country with such potential and collaborate with the Swedish Embassy in Liberia, furthering the commitment to keep supporting the development in Liberia.