Norway’s Prime Minister to be Patron of the Ocean Decade Alliance

The Prime Minister has agreed to be a Patron of the Ocean Decade Alliance. Norway is now one of the largest contributors to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030).

Ms Solberg has a long-standing, strong commitment to improving ocean management. Credit: OPM
Ms Solberg has a long-standing, strong commitment to improving ocean management. Credit: OPM

‘We know that conservation and sustainable use of the oceans are crucial to achieving a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the international community. We can only reach these goals if we ensure that ocean management is knowledge-based. This will require significant expansion of international ocean research and broad-based cooperation. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is intended to achieve these aims,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Norway has been at the forefront in preparations for the UN Decade and is one of the largest contributors.

Unesco’s Director-General has invited Ms Solberg to join the support group for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, the Ocean Decade Alliance. ‘I am honoured to be asked to be a Patron of the Ocean Decade Alliance,’ said Ms Solberg. In her role as patron, Ms Solberg will seek to focus attention on the Decade of Ocean Science and mobilise resources so that this ambitious programme can be successful. She will be working with other prominent figures such as Prince Albert of Monaco, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen.

Ms Solberg has a long-standing, strong commitment to improving ocean management. She co-chairs the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy together with the President of Palau. The High-level Panel, which consists of 14 world leaders, presented its conclusions in December last year. The 14 Ocean Panel countries have made a commitment to sustainably manage 100 % of their national waters by 2025.

‘Together with the other 13 heads of state and government in the High-level Panel, we have concluded that we need to make more radical changes to conservation and use of the oceans at global level. If we are to succeed, more countries and private stakeholders must become involved. This is what I will promote in the follow-up to the High-level Panel’s work and in my role as Patron of the Ocean Decade Alliance,’ said Ms Solberg.

Unesco’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the IOC, has been responsible for planning the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and will also coordinate its implementation.

‘We are now entering a critically important decade. By 2030 we are aiming to end hunger and eradicate poverty. To fulfil the SDGs, we need to improve conservation and use of the oceans. Norway is establishing its Oceans for Development programme. This is designed to meet the needs of developing countries for capacity development in integrated ocean governance and a sustainable and inclusive ocean economy,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein.

'To fulfil the SDGs, we need to improve conservation and use of the oceans. Norway is establishing its Oceans for Development programme', says Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein. Credit: MFA
To fulfil the SDGs, we need to improve conservation and use of the oceans. Norway is establishing its Oceans for Development programme', says Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein. Credit: MFA

Under the Oceans for Development programme, Norway will contribute NOK 20 million over a two-year period to the IOC. This funding will be used in the IOC’s work on capacity development, as well as in planning and realising the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Government’s ambition is to maintain this level of support throughout the entire decade. In addition, the Ministry of Education and Research has allocated NOK 1.5 million to the IOC’s work.

Norway is already involved in large-scale, international ocean research cooperation with partners including the EU, neighbouring Nordic countries, the US, Canada, Japan and China. Norway is also a major contributor to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and an active supporter of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will promote further cooperation between these stakeholders.

For Norwegian research communities, the Decade of Ocean Science will provide an important arena for international participation and for targeting their activities towards key sustainable development goals. The Research Council of Norway has played a vital part in Norwegian preparations for the Ocean Decade and will also have an important role in coordinating and implementing plans and in further work under the Ocean Decade Alliance.

For more information about the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development see The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want

For more information about the proposed priority areas for Norwegian efforts, see The Ocean Decade – proposed priority areas for Norwegian efforts (forskningsradet.no)