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Afrika-konferansen på Nor-Shipping

Utenriksministerens tale på åpningen av Afrika-konferansen på Nor-Shipping.

The ocean is a key to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Not only SDG 14 on life below water, but also the SDGs on poverty, hunger, energy, climate, decent work and economic growth depend on a clean, productive and healthy ocean.

By 2050, there may be 10 billion people on this planet. Most of the population growth will be in Africa. The share of food and other resources from the oceans will have to increase substantially to meet the growing demand. This is not to say that it cannot be done.

Estimates show that the ocean economy could more than double its contribution to global value added by 2030. To get there, we must manage the oceans’ resources wisely and sustainably.

The impacts of climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity and overexploitation of marine resources put pressures on the marine environment. Three out of ten of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited, partly due to illegal fishing – a problem that is all too familiar to many African coastal states.

According to figures presented by the African Union (AU) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the loss of revenue due to illegal activities in Africa`s maritime domain amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars.

To make sure the oceans remains rich and healthy – and on top of the global agenda - we need multilateral cooperation and international alliances.

In October, Norway will be hosting the Our Ocean conference.
At the conference, we will highlight the importance of knowledge as the basis for our actions and policies, in order to ensure protection of our oceans, responsible management of marine resources and sustainable future economic growth.

This is also the backdrop for the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, which our Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, established last year.
The panel consists of 14 serving heads of state and government from ocean and coastal states -including Ghana and Kenya- on all continents.
The objective is to ensure that economic production and ocean protection are mutually supportive.

Knowledge has been – and remains – the key to unlocking the full potential of the ocean.

The panel will receive advice and input from ocean experts, who will publish a scientific report in 2020.

With input from experts, the private sector and civil society, the panel will present a roadmap for action (a ’to-do list’ for the ocean) to the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June 2020.

Marine litter and microplastics are among the fastest growing threats to the ocean. Norway is promoting a global agreement to deal with this problem, and we have also launched a development programme to combat marine litter.

Over the next four years, we will provide 200 million US dollars to assist developing countries’ efforts in this area. In addition, approximately 15 million USD will be provided to the World Bank Problue Trust Fund to assist countries in their efforts to realise the vision of zero marine litter.
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provides a robust and legally binding framework. Clear rules are necessary to ensure a level playing field and equal opportunities.

Another example of successful multilateral cooperation is the historic decision taken by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 50 % by 2050. The IMO action plan to address marine plastic litter from ships, agreed in October, is another important achievement.

To achieve the SDGs, we need the private sector engagement to develop and put into operation new and greener technology. Private investment is crucial. Closer cooperation between industry, the public sector and multilateral institutions can lead to high-impact results and ensure implementation of global norms and standards.

(The electric container ship Yara Birkeland, the hybrid powered Hurtigruten cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen and the Cleans Sea Solutions autonomous robot and modular floating docks are all examples of innovations that will make significant contributions towards cleaner oceans and greener industry in the future.)

The African Union has a key role to play in promoting peace, security and sustainable development on the African continent. Thirty-eight of the fifty-four African States are coastal states. More than 90 % of Africa’s imports and exports are transported by sea.

In addition, Africa is home to important gateways for international trade, which further underscores the geopolitical importance of the region.
As outlined in the AU’s Agenda 2063, Africa`s blue economy could be a major contributor to continental transformation and growth.

Some of the greatest opportunities in Africa are blue. The African Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development and 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy provide comprehensive frameworks for the protection and sustainable exploitation of Africa’s marine resources.

There is growing recognition of the importance of the ocean for sustainable economic and human development and security in Africa.
This was evident at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2018 and at the Growing Blue Conference, recently held recently in Maputo, Mozambique, where we were proud to be the main sponsor.

We are honoured to have Mrs. Nancy W Karigithu, Principal Secretary, State Department of Maritime and Shipping, here today to present the main outcome from the Nairobi Conference. This is vital input for our discussions today, for the whole Nor-Shipping week and for other upcoming events such as the Our Ocean conference in October this year, and the second UN Ocean Conference in June 2020.

Norway has extensive collaboration with many African states in the area of the blue economy, including petroleum and fisheries management, delimitation of the continental shelf, and maritime security.
We are stepping up our efforts to share knowledge, technology and experience, and look forward to deepening our partnerships with the AU and AU member states.

The AU has been an important partner in the preparations for this conference, and I am very pleased that Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, is with us today.
I also want to extend a special welcome to the Vice-President of Seychelles, Mr. Vincent Meriton. The designation of Seychelles President Danny Faure as the AU’s blue economy champion is important for keeping up the momentum and maintaining commitment and public interest in achieving our goals.

The maritime industry is a vital partner in the sustainable blue economy. For more than 50 years, Nor-Shipping has attracted major players in the maritime industry from across the world. The presence of decision makers and leading figures from the entire maritime value chain makes Nor-Shipping a strategic arena for networking and forging future partnerships.
This Africa Conference is an opportunity to highlight the huge potential of the blue economy in Africa, and to encourage further investments, cooperation and job creation between businesses and international institutions.

The ocean is where life began and it holds the key to our future. The ocean provides food, transport, work and income.
Some say the ocean divides us – but as Nor-Shipping has shown for years – I would rather say that the ocean connects us. Let us all work to keep it that way.

Thank you.

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