PM Solbergs speech at Virtual Ocean Dialogues

Prime Minister Erna Solbergs Keynote Speech at World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action’s Virtual Ocean Dialogues June 4th 2020.

I am pleased to participate together with all of you in these Virtual Ocean Dialogues. Many of you are joining from your homes. Under very challenging circumstances, I know, but hopefully in good spirits.

Unfortunately, we cannot be together in person this week at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. We are nonetheless linked today by our concern for the future of our blue planet.

The pandemic has disrupted lives, communities and economies worldwide. Including the over 3 billion people who depend on the ocean for their livelihoods and wellbeing.

Nature should be part of our recovery from this crisis. Central to this are the many benefits found in a sustainable ocean. But we need to act fast to reverse the decline in ocean health. We must act now, and we must be open-minded to the possibilities of tomorrow.

We should fast-track and invest in innovative solutions that enable a rapid transition to a sustainable ocean economy. An example is the enzymes found in microbes on the deep ocean floor, which are used to produce tests for COVID-19. Another is the brand new pledge by Norwegian ship owners that by 2030, they will order only zero emission vessels in order to have a climate neutral fleet by 2050.

It is essential that blue is part of the green recovery that is now so widely discussed.

A sustainable ocean economy offers many opportunities for resetting and rebuilding economies that enhance both the health of our environment and our climate.

Remember that ocean-based climate action could reduce the emissions gap by up to 21% by 2050. This is equivalent to taking more than a billion cars off the road each year.

I have the pleasure of serving as the co-chair of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, composed of 14 heads of government and states.

Our countries represent nearly:

    • a third of the world’s coastlines,
    • a third of the world’s exclusive economic zones,
    • 20 percent of the world’s fisheries and
    • 20 percent of the world’s shipping fleet

Driven by a commitment to partnership, shared knowledge and science-informed policy, we have spent the last 18 months working with business, science and civil society to advance the benefits of a sustainable ocean economy. We have learnt that protection, production and prosperity must go hand in hand.

Within the coming year the Ocean Panel will present an action agenda which makes the case for a healthy and sustainably managed ocean. The agenda will outline how a well-managed ocean can deliver for global economic recovery, human health, and improved food and energy security for all.

We need to rebuild resilience back into natural systems. Then we can make sure we are less vulnerable to future shocks and that nobody is left behind as our economies recover, reset and rebuild.

Friends and fellow ocean champions,

I urge us all to keep the ocean’s many values on our minds as we decide what is best for our economies, wellbeing and environment.

The health of the planet – our entire blue planet – depends on it.