Opening remarks India-Norway ocean dialogue

State Secretary Marianne Hagen's opening remarks at World Sustainable Development Summit; India-Norway ocean dialogue and marine pollution in New Delhi.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I will be brief, since I am sure you are looking forward to lunch. I simply want to say a few words about something that we all care deeply about, but that is in great trouble – the oceans.

Marine life is being threatened by:

  • the effects of climate change,
  • marine litter and pollution,
  • illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and
  • loss of habitat and biodiversity.

This is undermining the potential of the oceans. We urgently need to reduce these threats.

Already, almost half the world’s population depends on the oceans for nutrition and employment. Looking ahead, we see that more and more people will rely on the oceans in the future.

International Cooperation

The oceans all flow into one another.

As a result, pollution in one part of the world can have a serious impact on the other side of the globe.

Close international cooperation on oceans can limit the effects of climate change, help to feed a growing global population, and help to develop a sustainable blue economy.

The Norwegian Prime Minster, Ms Erna Solberg, visited India in January. During this visit, Norway and India signed an MoU to establish the India-Norway Ocean Dialogue.

In partnership, we will share experiences and knowledge. We will work together to develop clean and healthy oceans, and ensure sustainable use of ocean resources and growth in the blue economy.

Together with the Indian Government, I will launch the first joint initiative under this new partnership during my stay here in India. This initiative aims to combat one of the fastest growing environmental concerns – marine pollution.

Marine pollution

Marine litter represents a huge risk to the blue economy and marine life itself. Images of enormous floating islands of plastic litter have shocked us all.

The main driver of marine litter is mismanaged waste on land finding its way into the ocean – either directly, or via rivers and waterways. We need to build efficient and sustainable waste management systems in order to solve this problem.    

I would like to applaud Prime Minister Modi’s visionary Swachh Bharat (Clean India) mission, and his commitment to reducing the use of single-use plastics.

These bold initiatives are sending an important message to the rest of the world. We need to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste. If India – one of the biggest countries in the world – can do it, then others can certainly do it too.

The new India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative will take advantage of our different strengths in waste management, marine research, business and technology. We will learn from each other, and implement best practices to combat this problem.

Norway and India will work with several partners in implementing activities under this initiative. We have been working with The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) for many years in a range of different areas, and I am glad that they will be a key partner for us in this initiative too.


I am also very glad that Teri has invited Mr Vidar Helgesen, the Norwegian Special Envoy for the Oceans, to the conference’s plenary session on clean oceans after lunch. I encourage you all to join us for this important session.

But first let’s enjoy our lunch!

Thank you.