The United States is committed to Indigenous-led conservation. Tribal and Indigenous communities have been the original stewards of land, waters, and wildlife since time immemorial. Many of the major milestones in protecting ocean areas under the jurisdiction of the United States resulted from the leadership of Tribes and Indigenous communities.
As part of these continuing efforts, the United States is pleased to highlight a suite of Indigenous-led initiatives within its overall commitment package at the Our Ocean Conference 2022 held April 13-14 and co-hosted by the United States and Palau.
- The United States Announced the Initiation of Three National Marine Sanctuary Designations: The United States is working with local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and states on the potential designation of three new national marine sanctuaries (NMS), including the proposed Chumash Heritage NMS, the proposed Lake Ontario NMS, as well as providing additional protection to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument by designating it as a national marine sanctuary.
- The United States Announced the Establishment and Development of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area (NBSCRA): President Biden re-established the NBSCRA on his first day in office. Implementation will proceed on the basis of a unique partnership between the U.S. federal government and Indigenous Peoples of the region through the joint work of the Task Force and Tribal Advisory Council, in recognition of Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, and will include Indigenous Knowledge in decision-making.
- The United States Announced the Signing of an Indo-Pacific Marine Protected Area (MPA) Partnership with the Republic of Palau: The United States has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Palau to collaborate on and strengthen the conservation, management, and engagement of marine protected areas in the Pacific Islands Region, establishing a Sister Site Agreement between the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, as well as a framework for broader Indo-Pacific regional cooperation on MPA issues.
- The United States Announced That It Will Launch a Working Group or Commission to Evaluate Naming Practices for Existing and Future Marine National Monuments and National Marine Sanctuaries: The United States will launch a working group or commission to evaluate naming practices for existing and future marine national monuments and national marine sanctuaries, with particular emphasis on the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.