Historical archive

What Norway intends to do for the world’s oceans

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher The Office of the Prime Minister

‘Norway is a maritime nation and we have world-leading research, business and ocean management communities. Norway will continue to play a leading role as we now follow the call to take a ‘100 % approach’ to implement the Ocean Panel’s ocean action agenda together with other countries,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Yesterday, the 14 countries represented on the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel), including Norway, announced their commitment to systematically and sustainably manage 100 % of the ocean areas under their national jurisdiction by 2025. This means that in five years’ time, close to 40 % of the world’s coastlines and 30 % of all exclusive economic zones will be covered by integrated management plans. The Ocean Panel urges all other coastal states to develop plans of this kind by 2030 as well. Today Prime Minister Solberg began following up the effort by announcing a new allocation of NOK 60 million to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund PROBLUE, under the World Bank, to support the efforts of developing countries to develop sustainable ocean management regimes.

Today the Prime Minister hosted a national launch of the Ocean Panel’s report. Leading representatives of the Norwegian research community, the business sector and NGOs presented their initiatives for carrying out this work. Participants included President and CEO of Equinor Anders Opedal, CEO of WWF Norway Karoline Andaur, President of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association Paul-Christian Rieber, Managing Director at Skretting Therese Log Bergjord, Programme Director at the Institute of Marine Research and Co-chair of the Ocean Panel’s Expert Group Peter Haugan, and President and CEO of Aker ASA Øyvind Eriksen. Vidar Helgesen, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy and Ocean Panel Sherpa for Norway, led the discussion on ways in which various industries can follow up the Ocean Panel’s main report and action agenda.

‘Policies must be based on knowledge. I am proud that the Ocean Panel has helped to establish a knowledge base that can guide us in the international effort to ensure ocean sustainability,’ said Prime Minister Solberg.

‘The panel’s work has made me much more optimistic about the prospects for achieving sustainable development of the oceans and the Earth as a whole. The working method sets a new standard and I am looking forward to the follow-up, including using and further refining the knowledge base,’ said Peter Haugan, Co-chair of the Ocean Panel Expert Group.

The Government’s initiatives relating to the oceans have a broad focus, and many of the government ministers will be taking part in the follow-up actions to promote sustainable ocean management. Click here to see the quotes from the launch.

The list below indicates some of the measures the Norwegian Government is implementing and/or planning in connection with the follow-up of the Ocean Panel’s action agenda:

Integrated, sustainable management (100 per cent) of ocean and coastal areas

  • Norway’s ocean management plans have served as a model for the Ocean Panel’s work. Norway is contributing to the ‘Give It 100 %’ campaign in developing countries by among other things allocating NOK 60 million via the World Bank and through the Norwegian Oceans for Development programme.
  • Norway’s ocean management plans are to be further refined in the period leading up to their next update in 2024. The Ocean Panel’s research and conclusions establish important guiding principles for these efforts.
  • In spring 2021, the Government will submit a white paper on marine protected areas as part of Norway’s integrated ocean management regime.

The oceans as a sustainable source of food

  • Norway has initiated and supports international measures to promote the oceans as a source of food, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, safe and healthy food from the oceans, and to combat illegal fishing and fisheries crime, and will continue to support future efforts in these areas.
  • Efforts to further develop sustainable solutions for aquaculture, fisheries and the seafood industry in Norway will be given priority moving forward.

Sustainable ocean energy and commercial ocean activities

  • Through the World Bank, Norway provides support for mapping the potential for offshore wind power in developing countries and the development of relevant energy storage technologies. Norway will continue to build on these efforts with partners in the years ahead.
  • This year the Government adopted the Offshore Energy Act and decided to open up areas for offshore renewable energy production in Norway. Importance is attached to research, development and demonstration activities relating to offshore energy production, including support for offshore wind power from the Research Council of Norway and funding to the Hywind Tampen floating wind farm from Enova.
  • The Government is supporting a Norwegian CCS demonstration project (Langskip), is drawing up a new roadmap for hydrogen as an environment-friendly energy carrier, and will facilitate the extraction of minerals from the seabed.

Green shipping

  • Norway is a leader in international efforts on green shipping under the International Maritime Organization and promotes cooperation in this area in the EU and by means of the EEA and Norway Grants, as well as cooperation with other countries through various international organisations such as the World Bank.
  • Norway will implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from domestic shipping and fisheries by half by 2030. The Government will present a new climate policy plan in a white paper that will introduce new measures for reducing emissions from domestic shipping and fisheries.

Reduced ocean pollution

  • Norway is a global leader in efforts to promote clean seas and oceans free of hazardous substances, and works actively to bring a halt to discharges to sea of substances that are hazardous to health or the environment. Norway is spearheading the effort to develop a global agreement on the prevention of marine litter and microplastics, and supports various international measures to combat plastics in the oceans, such as the Norwegian Development Programme to Combat Marine Litter and Microplastics.
  • The Norwegian Government pursues a proactive policy to reduce pollution in national waters. Strict controls on emissions from industry and aquaculture have led to substantial reductions in emissions and discharges in the last 15–20 years. Remediation of contaminated sediments is ongoing. Efforts to combat ocean plastic pollution continue unabated, and Norway’s strategy from 2017 is to be revised.

Enhanced ocean knowledge and ocean equity

  • As we enter the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021–2030, Norway is the largest contributor to UNESCO’s oceanographic commission, IOC, and assists countries in mapping their marine resources and developing knowledge-based ocean management, through e.g. the Fish for Development programme and the Nansen Programme.
  • Norway supports further international measures to promote the Law of the Sea, sustainability, and equitable access to resources under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Seabed Authority and the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, respectively.
  • Norway supports European ocean research under the current EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, the coming EU framework programme Horizon Europe, which will start in 2021, and the European Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans.
  • Norway invests considerable funding each year in ocean mapping programmes. The Government’s aim is for data to be shared and used to provide added value for society while at the same time ensuring respect for fundamental rights and freedoms.
  • High priority is given to expanding national knowledge for business development and management of ocean and coastal ecosystems, through institutions such as the Institute of Marine Research, Directorate of Fisheries, Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. Substantial funding is provided for research and innovation in the ocean industries under e.g. the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway, and the SkatteFUNN tax incentive scheme.


Quotes from the Government ministers

‘Ocean industries such as shipping, seafood and energy production provide many jobs in the outlying districts, increasing value creation and creating green jobs along the coast. Digitalisation and greater utilisation of data boost growth in the business sector and make us better equipped to deal with the major societal challenges addressed by the Ocean Panel. We will draw up a dedicated coastal strategy and a white paper on data-driven economy and innovation,’ said Minister of Regional Development and Digitalisation Linda Hofstad Helleland. 

‘Knowledge-based management and effective compliance are essential for growth in fisheries, aquaculture and seafood industries in Norway. Closer cooperation between the world’s maritime nations on generating and using new knowledge about the oceans will benefit coastal populations, maritime industries and the environment,’ said Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.

‘Research and knowledge are crucial to the development of sustainable ocean industries. I am proud that Norway is a strong maritime nation and that we are frontrunners in sharing ocean data and knowledge about the oceans,’ said Minister of Research and Higher Education Henrik Asheim.

‘The oceans are a treasure trove of fauna and natural assets. But we have taken the oceans and all the species and nature we find there for granted for far too long. New knowledge is making it abundantly clear that the oceans play an important part in preserving biodiversity, preventing climate change and safeguarding the future prospects for Norway and the entire planet. The Ocean Panel emphasises the importance of integrated ocean management, and modelled its work on Norway’s ocean management plans. This encourages us, inspires us and obligates us,’ said Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn.

‘To be productive, oceans have to be clean and healthy. Norway has taken a leading global role and is using its experience and expertise to promote sustainable use of the world’s oceans – through research, innovation, technological development and more,’ said Minister of Local Government and Modernisation Nikolai Astrup.

‘Norway is investing in green shipping to strengthen our competitive advantages as a leading green shipping nation and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Ocean Panel is an important tool for promoting better international practices,’ said Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø.

‘The work of the Ocean Panel shows how important it is to take an integrated approach to ocean activities. This will help us to harvest ocean resources sustainably and lay a foundation for the industries of the future. For Norway, new industries such as wind power, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and extraction of seabed minerals can create viable jobs and help to safeguard national well-being,’ said Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru.

‘The oceans provide crucial transport routes, and shipping is a very valuable part of Norway’s transport network. But discharges and emissions from shipping are significant. We must therefore focus on green transport at sea and along the coast. The Ministry of Transport works along several tracks in this regard. We have long focused on being one of the first to introduce electric ferries. We are now promoting hydrogen-powered ferries as well. A number of grant schemes are helping to make shipping in Norwegian waters more efficient and environment-friendly. These are critical initiatives for restructuring shipping into a zero-emissions industry. We will leave no stone unturned to translate the Ocean Panel’s vision into reality,’ said Minister of Transport Knut Arild Hareide.

‘The Ocean Panel has enabled the Government to realise its ambition of becoming a driving international force for sustainable oceans. Today’s launch, hosted by the Prime Minister, marks the start of the effort to implement the Panel’s vision and action agenda. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working actively to promote global support and action to implement the Ocean Panel’s agenda,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

‘Food security in sub-Saharan Africa can only be resolved through increased sustainable production of healthy, nutritious food from the oceans. Nine of ten jobs in developing countries are created by the private sector, and the ocean industries will play a key role in providing livelihoods for a steadily growing generation of young workers. The conclusions of the Ocean Panel are important; they represent an international framework for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with greater focus on the value of the oceans and ocean industries. Norway’s expertise, knowledge and identity as a maritime nation will enable us to continue to play a leading international role,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein.