Conserving our sea of islands: State of protected and conserved areas in Oceania is a landmark publication, bringing together regional and international experts to prepare the first comprehensive review of the status and issues for protected and conserved areas in the region. The report embodies the spirit of the late scholar Epeli Hau’ofa, who devised the phrase ‘Our Sea of Islands’ to help re-imagine the region as selfdetermined ‘Big Ocean States’ connected to place and each other – ideas that underpin conservation. The report emphasises the underlying rationale for implementing equitable and effective systems of protected and conserved areas, as well as providing a valuable baseline to measure progress against elements of Aichi Target 11 in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 (Convention on Biological Diversity). It also explores the important issues of governance, equity, effectiveness, capacity and sustainable financing – highlighting both gaps and opportunities. This will provide guidance to decision-makers, as well as help support well-designed investments and interventions for improving governance and management. As the world approaches the adoption of the new Global Biodiversity Framework, the report will provide a benchmark and serve as a guide to how the new targets can be realised in Oceania.