A Route to a Healthy Ocean, Prosperous People and Thriving Economies

Remarks by Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Cooperation, at the side event on sustainable ocean planning during Our Ocean Palau, 14 April 2022: A Route to a Healthy Ocean, Prosperous People and Thriving Economies. The speech was delivered by Special Envoy (Ocean) Henrik Harboe.

Excellencies, distinguished guests,

We are members of the Ocean Panel because we agree that a healthy ocean is essential to human survival. It is vital to solving some of the greatest challenges humanity faces – hunger, poverty, and not least, climate change.

For Norway as a coastal state, at the North Atlantic Ocean, this is a question our history, our identity, and our destiny. Blue economy, marine management, food security and climate change are all very important areas in our foreign policy and development policy.

The Ocean Panel has shown that we can build an ocean economy where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand.

This requires a 100% approach to sustainable ocean management, covering all ocean areas under national jurisdiction, with Sustainable Ocean Planning (SOP) as a key tool.

In Norway, we developed the first Comprehensive Ocean Management Plan 20 years ago. We established a process of involving ministries, collecting, and preparing knowledge on ocean ecosystems and their vulnerabilities. We made plans for coexistence of various ocean economy sectors in different areas.

The plans have been periodically updated, on new knowledge and emerging ocean economy sectors.

We have now started to revise our Ocean Management Plan in accordance with the main conclusion from the High-Level Panel. It will be finalized in 2024 and thus become the first national Norwegian Sustainable Ocean Plan.

My point is just that we have, over the years, made lessons that can help other countries in their work.

It is a national task to initiate and lead a Sustainable Ocean Planning (SOP) process. It is also important that the process is endorsed at the highest political level, and adapted to local conditions, culture, history, ocean economy sectors, ocean environment and knowledge, and so forth.

However, not all Ocean Panel members, and indeed not all coastal and ocean states in the world, have the financial and technical resources to undertake Sustainable Ocean Planning on their own.

Norway has therefore, like other Ocean Panel members, committed to supporting mechanisms for financial and technical support for developing SOPs.

This will be done through our bilateral capacity building program, which we announced at the previous Our Ocean Conference, Ocean for Development, and the ProBlue program of the World Bank.

The Ocean Action 2030 coalition, which has been formed in response to the Ocean Panel’s ambitions for Sustainable Ocean Planning, includes and coordinates several organizations that can contribute to these efforts, both financially and technically.

I encourage all countries who need such assistance to make use of these mechanisms to accelerate their work on Sustainable Ocean Planning.

As we proceed on this route towards a 100% approach for sustainable management of the ocean, we will all benefit highly from exchanging experiences and best practices.

In Norway, we started more than 100 years ago with systematic ocean research, providing knowledge on fish resources, ecosystems, and marine environment. 20 years ago, we started with comprehensive ocean management.

Our ocean economy is a key contributor to our prosperity, employment, settlement structure along the coast, and of course a key to our food security and our health. Our fisheries consist of many small-scale producers. Now, for the ocean to continue to serve us, for generations, we must effectively protect the ocean environment. And we must ensure equal access.

The 100% approach and the related processes to achieve a sustainable ocean economy should continue to develop.

The Sustainable Ocean Plans must be iterative and inclusive, as described in the Guide to Sustainable Ocean Planning that was launched by the Ocean Panel a few months ago.

I am sure that as we continue this journey, we will all benefit from close contact with each other. I look forward to future exchanges with you all. Thank you.