Ocean conference participants pledge $19 billion

Delegates to a global conference on saving the world's oceans pledged $19 billion, the host country Panama said Friday.

The total included a $6 billion commitment from the United States, announced on Thursday by White House climate envoy John Kerry.

Panamanian deputy foreign minister Yill del Carmen Otero announced the total pledge figure at the two-day Our Ocean Conference before details emerged about the make up of specific offers.

The US package features 77 projects to protect the high seas in 2023.

Almost $5 billion of that will be dedicated to combatting climate change, the US Embassy in Panama said in a statement.

Of that amount, some $2.6 billion will be spent from Washington's Inflation Reduction Act to "develop lasting climate resiliency for marine resources and coastal communities," the embassy said.

Another $665 million has been assigned for sustainable fishing, more than $200 million to fund programs combatting pollution, $73 million for blue economy programs, $72 million to maritime security and $11 million for protected areas.

On Thursday, the European Union announced it would dedicate 816.5 million euros ($865 million) to ocean-related projects this year.

A large slice of the EU money -- 320 million euros -- would go towards research to protect marine biodiversity and address the impacts of climate change on the seas, while another 250 million euros would help launch the Sentinel-1C satellite to observe ice melt and monitor climate change effects.

Some 600 experts, government officials and philanthropists from around the world attended the conference.

Delegates do not adopt agreements but rather announce voluntary commitments to ocean protection.