The following statement is by John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs:

“The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) celebrates President Biden’s announcement to start the process to designate the Pacific Remote Islands and their surrounding waters as a National Marine Sanctuary as well as the release of the first-ever Ocean Climate Action Plan. These actions, coupled with the necessary federal and philanthropic resources, mark a significant milestone towards meeting U.S. targets to protect 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 and achieve a 50 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The waters surrounding the Pacific Remote Islands are of high ecological integrity and contain globally important natural and cultural resources. WCS supports the Biden Administration’s decision to direct the Secretary of Commerce to consider designating this area as a national marine sanctuary.  This builds on and provides a public- and stakeholder-driven process to advance community led conservation and stewardship of this important ocean area. 

“The announcement also recognizes the important role that the ocean can play as a solution to the climate crisis.  The Ocean Climate Action Plan outlines a whole-of-government approach that will accelerate nature-based solutions and provide mechanisms for historically marginalized, frontline communities to help shape the direction and implementation of these federal policies.

“We applaud the Biden Administration’s efforts to invest federal resources and leverage philanthropic support to advance ocean solutions that embrace an inclusive and equitable process that will amplify historically excluded voices as we tackle the biodiversity and climate crises.”