FAO Conference, 40th Session, Rome

I am pleased to note that FAO takes an active role in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. I would like to emphasize how important this is for Norway, and that as guest country to the G20 this year, Norway has taken an active role to promote Agenda 2030 also in that arena.

Norway welcomes the FAO report "The future of food and agriculture", released in February this year.  It lists the many conflicting trends and challenges that food and agriculture will be faced with - if we are to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition by 2030. We must improve income-earning opportunities in rural areas, transform agriculture to attract the young and address the root causes of migration. At the same time, we must make food systems more efficient, inclusive and resilient to meet protracted crises, disasters and conflicts.

Norway is a small country with an open economy dependent on trade. Global cooperation through the UN system and other international organisations is therefore important to meet global challenges such as hunger and under-nutrition, poverty and climate change and an increasing demand for energy.

Food security in Norway is good and based on both sustainable farming on limited arable land, trade and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

Parliament recently passed a White Paper on food and agriculture. Food production in agriculture shall increase and be more efficient, with high standards of food safety and animal welfare. I would also like to emphasize that Norway, as the first country in the world, has presented a Government White Paper on the role of the oceans in Norway's foreign policy.

In March this year, the Norwegian Government launched a new action plan on healthier diets for the period 2017-2020. It will contribute to the follow-up of the UN Decade of Nutrition. Further, I am also pleased to announce that Norway has launched a Global Action Network on Sustainable Food from the Oceans for Food Security and Nutrition under the umbrella of the UN Decade of Nutrition.

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest global health threats in our time and  we must stop producing food in a way that endangers our health.

AMR knows no boundaries, neither geographical nor sectoral. If we are to combat AMR, we must take a One Health perspective and ensure that all relevant sectors cooperate to this end.

I hosted a  meeting for the Nordic Council of Ministers last week and AMR was at the top of our agenda. We committed ourselves to a joint stance against antimicrobial resistance through increased regional co-operation.

Global cooperation is fundamental for dealing with antimicrobial resistance. Combatting AMR requires a global and multi-sectorial approach.

I encourage and expect all major food producing countries to follow the EU example and ban the use of antibiotics as growth promoters.

The EU Action Plan and cross sectorial approach should be an inspiration to us all.

It is also of the outmost importance to ensure that prescribing of antibiotics should not have strong economic incentives, as is the case in many countries.

The time has come to reserve some categories of antibiotics for human treatment only and not allow them to be used in veterinary medicine!

In addition, we must improve the use of preventive measures and emphasize reduced and more correct use of antibiotics. If we do not take efficient actions worldwide, we face a future without effective antibiotics.

FAO must take a lead role as key organisation for global food security.  

We applaud the leading role and commitment the FAO has taken on sustainable management of genetic resources for food and agriculture. I encourage the Conference to approve the draft resolution on the Commission and its contribution to Agenda 2030. 

FAO has a vital role to play in providing resource assessments for sustainable forest management. We trust that FAO will continue to develop the Forest Resource Assessment in a way that it will remain the main source of information on forest resources.

Forests are of fundamental importance in the light of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Norway has been a leading contributor to efforts aimed at reducing emissions from deforestations and forest degradation in developing countries for a decade.

We remain committed to this agenda in the years to come and look forward to cooperate with FAO and others to curb tropical deforestation.

We commend FAO for its expertise and visibility in the area of managing marine resources sustainably. In March, a 43 year long cooperation in fisheries research between FAO, Norway and several coastal states was assured continuity through the new research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen number 3.

In May, we were hosting the first meeting of the parties to the agreement on state port measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

To sum up, FAO’s unique role as a trusted centre of technical excellence, translated into policy, norms and reality is more needed than ever: in the fields of agriculture and climate, genetic resources, AMR, sustainable management of marine and forest resources – to mention a few of high priority for Norway.

I wish us all a fruitful week of discussions – thank you for your attention!