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Our Ocean Countdown, Greece 2024: An Ocean of Potential

Date & Time

Feb. 9, 2024
11:00am – 11:45am ET


Online Only


Greece will host the 9th Our Ocean Conference in 2024, which will take place in Athens from April 16 to 17, with a youth summit on April 15. This year's motto, "Our Ocean, An Ocean of Potential," is inspired by the key role the ocean plays in human existence; it is essential for our survival and prosperity. It provides food, regulates our climate, and generates most of the oxygen we breathe. It also serves much of the world's economy, supporting sectors from tourism to fisheries and to international shipping.

Greece, a country with an extended coastline of over 15,000 kilometers and hundreds of islands, as well as a nation with a long tradition of seamanship, not only recognizes the need for prompt reaction but has already taken bold and concrete measures in this direction. This year's Conference will give a special emphasis on sustainable tourism, green shipping, marine plastic pollution, as well as the Mediterranean region's green transition.

The Our Ocean Conference was first launched under the initiative of the U.S. Department of State in 2014. Since then, it has become a forum for dialogue that brings together governments, international organizations, academia, the private sector, and NGOs that share a common vision for the protection of the oceans and taking action to support this vision. The conference focuses on six Areas of Action: promoting marine protected areas, fostering a sustainable blue economy, tackling the climate crisis, supporting maritime security, advancing sustainable fisheries, and combating marine pollution.

As part of Greece's efforts to build support for this year's Our Ocean Conference and encourage ambitious announcements, the Wilson Center and the Embassy of Greece in Washington, DC will host a special dialogue on Greece's goals for the Our Ocean Conference. This event will feature Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Gerapetritis and the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.


Select Quotes

George Gerapetritis, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic
  • “It is of utmost importance to try and keep up a positive momentum not only among State actors but also among private individuals, NGOs, enterprises, and obviously among think tanks and scientists.”
  • “It has been ten years since our first Ocean Conference was organized after Secretary Kerry’s initial idea, an idea that proved to be inspirational for the international community, and that created a new result-oriented model. This model should be the basis of any action against climate change.”
  • “Nothing can be achieved without the active engagement of the future of our planet, our youth.”
  • “Greece wants to reaffirm its commitment for transition to a blue economy and to utilize the advantages of a new balance between economic growth, social cohesion, and sustainability.”
John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
  • “We are seeing in the fisheries of the world the strip mining of the ocean.”
  • ‘We have a responsibility here to try to […] actually practice sustainability and put it into workability.”
  • “The 2024 'Our Ocean Conference’ is a conference where we are going to galvanize action. […] The scale of announcements and the resources that this conference has generated make it stand out.”
  • “If shipping were a nation, it would be the eight largest emitter of greenhouse gases. […] We have reason to hope that the shipping industry is going to turn over its current set of diesel and other powered ships into being decarbonized shipping within the next 20 years.”

Hosted By

Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program is focused on Europe’s capabilities, and how it engages on critical global issues.  We investigate European approaches to critical global issues. We examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our initiatives include “Ukraine in Europe” – an examination of what it will take to make Ukraine’s European future a reality.  But we also examine the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE, Europe’s energy security, transatlantic trade disputes, and challenges to democracy. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more

Environmental Change and Security Program

The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) explores the connections between environmental change, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy.  Read more

Polar Institute

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.  Read more

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy

The Center for Korean History and Public Policy was established in 2015 with the generous support of the Hyundai Motor Company and the Korea Foundation to provide a coherent, long-term platform for improving historical understanding of Korea and informing the public policy debate on the Korean peninsula in the United States and beyond.  Read more

Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.