Statement at the Ocean Panel meeting in Glasgow

We are members of the Ocean Panel because we agree that the oceans are essential to human survival and to solving some of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced. Not least, climate change.

Jonas Gahr Støre
Statsminister Jonas Gahr Støre. Foto: Arbeiderpartiet

For Norway as a coastal state, with seven times more ocean and continental shelf than land mass, it is a question of both identity and destiny.

The oceans and the ocean economy bring food, a place for recreation, taking up the carbon and heat we produce and even providing us with the air we breathe.

But the oceans are in danger. Climate change and unstainable practices lead to ocean decline. We are putting 2/3 of the planet and our most precious resource at risk.

So we are united in an urgent need to chart a new course towards healthy and sustainable oceans.

For too long we have believed we had to choose between ocean protection and ocean production.

But it is really not about a choice of the one above the other. The work of the Ocean Panel has shown that we can build an ocean economy where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand.

Here in Glasgow we find ourselves at a crossroads. The decisions we make now and the actions we take once we return home will affect everyone’s lives today, tomorrow and for years to come.

The oceans must be managed sustainably in a way that:

  • benefits the communities that rely on them;
  • dramatically improves the state of our marine resources;
  • enables us to rebuild and strengthen our economies; and
  • tackles climate change head on.

We know that ocean-based climate action can deliver 21 % of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions needed to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5℃ by 2050 – the equivalent of taking 2.5 billion cars off the road.

Sustainable ocean investments could create 12 million new jobs. According to economic forecasts this could yield more than 15 trillion dollars in benefits over the next three decades.

Every dollar invested in the oceans can yield 5 dollars in benefits. Benefits in the form of renewable energy, decarbonisation of shipping, and sustainable tourism.

In short: If we act in the right way, the oceans will provide the solution to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to food security.

‘Transformations for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’ sets an ambitious new agenda: to sustainably manage 100 % of the ocean areas under national jurisdiction by 2025. That is one third of the world´s exclusive economic zones.

The unified framework of commitment and cooperation we set out last year will enable us to improve the state of our oceans and our societies immeasurably.  

The Ocean Panel has taken bold steps to apply the latest ocean knowledge and has presented a transformative set of recommendations and priority actions which, if implemented, will deliver the results we need.

Now we must ensure that political decision-making, including on finance, leads to effective and appropriate action. That is partly the job to be done here in Glasgow. 

In this critical decade of action, we must deliver on our 100 % commitment, and we will work tirelessly to enlist other countries in the effort to create a sustainable ocean economy for all.

We have a choice about what happens next.

Let’s work together to make sure we make that happen.