Press release | Date: 12/10/2017 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
‘Norway intends to take the lead in ocean affairs internationally. Marine litter, including plastics, has become one of the most serious environmental problems of our time. That is why the Government is launching a concerted effort to combat marine litter and microplastics and is establishing a development programme in this field,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The Government is intensifying its efforts in this field and is launching a development programme to combat plastic and other marine litter, with a budget of NOK 150 million for 2018.
‘The new development programme will use effective and environmentally sound approaches to combating marine litter. To start with, the programme will focus on Southeast Asia, which is the region where the problem is most acute. We will also look at ways of using the programme to support other countries and regions where marine litter is a growing problem, for example in Africa,’ Mr Brende said.
The Government supports the work being done by UN Environment, the World Bank and INTERPOL to combat marine litter. Norway’s new development programme will include efforts to reduce waste and improve waste management in the areas that are most seriously affected by marine litter. Supporting efforts to clean up shorelines and coastal areas can also have a major impact.
The Government is calling for sustainable use of the oceans to be given greater priority at the international level. Prime Minister Erna Solberg hosted a high-level event at the UN General Assembly on 20 September on the wealth of opportunities offered by the oceans. The event was attended by heads of state and government and ministers from a number of countries.
‘Norway has also supported the initiative to appoint a UN special envoy for the oceans. Former President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson of Fiji was appointed to this important post in September, and Norway will support him in his work,’ Mr Brende said.
On 1 June this year, the Storting approved the white paper on the place of the oceans in Norwegian foreign and development policy. The white paper sets out three priority areas: sustainable use and blue growth, clean and healthy oceans, and the role of the blue economy in development policy. In the time ahead, the Government will conduct dialogues on ocean affairs with other countries with a view to strengthening cooperation in these three areas.