Speech/statement | Date: 2014-06-17 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
'We depend on the ecosystems of the world for our survival. We need to ensure that the oceans of the world are managed responsibly. This conference is an important step in that direction,' Foreign Minister Børge Brende said in his remarks at the Our Ocean Conference in Washington DC on 17 June 2014.
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Dear Friends of Our Ocean.
Thank you, Secretary Kerry, for hosting this historic conference and for your extraordinary leadership and friendship.
As a nation of seafarers and fishermen, Norwegians have lived off the ocean and in close contact with the ocean throughout history. We have reaped its benefits and weathered its storms.
This is true in many other parts of the world as well. 3 billion people get almost 20 % of their intake of animal protein from the oceans.
Healthy oceans are key to a healthy future.
The oceans are facing many challenges.
- A third of the world’s fish stocks are overfished or depleted.
- Marine litter kills a million seabirds every year.
- And ocean acidification is putting entire marine ecosystems at risk.
We need clean and productive oceans to safeguard our existence. The better we take care of the ocean, the better the ocean can help us meet our needs.
First a few words about sustainable fisheries.
As mentioned by Secretary Kerry, the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures was recently passed by the US Senate. Now others must follow.
This is potentially one of the most effective measures against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Only 10 countries have ratified it. All fishing nations must now follow suit.
Joint action works. Norway and Russia have proved this in the management of our shared fish stocks. The Barents and Norwegian Seas are now home to the world’s largest cod stock.
I am pleased to announce that Norway will allocate more than 150 million dollars to promote sustainable fisheries development and management abroad, including the building of a third research vessel to train fisheries experts and managers from around the world.
Another challenge highlighted by this conference is marine litter.
95 % of Norwegian seabirds have plastic in their stomachs. And it takes 450 years for nature to dissolve a plastic bottle thrown into the sea.
Marine litter is a global problem that calls for a global solution. I hope the very first meeting in the United Nations Environment Assembly – taking place already next week – can provide a new drive for our common efforts to protect the environment.
Norway will do its part by allocating up to 1 million dollars for a study on measures to combat marine plastic waste and microplastics.
Finally, there is the global-scale problem of ocean acidification. The only way to fight this is through a reduction in the global level of CO2 emissions. It is vital that the climate summit in Paris next year is successful. Norway is committed to the process and to achieving an ambitious outcome as we work towards the two-degree target and a low carbon society. It is time to stop rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We have to change course.
Recognising that actions speak louder than words, Norway has increased our budget for climate change mitigation significantly over the past years.
Next year Norway will allocate more than one billion dollars to climate change mitigation and adaptation assistance in developing countries, including what will be a substantial contribution to the Green Climate Fund. We are also pleased to be hosting the Fund’s first resource mobilisation meeting in Oslo on 30 June.
We need partnerships, and we need goals. The new sustainable development goals must take into account the state of the oceans, ecosystems and biological diversity.
We depend on the ecosystems of the world for our survival. We need to ensure that the oceans of the world are managed responsibly. This conference is an important step in that direction.