Addis Abeba

PM Erna Solberg on blue economy

Prime minister Erna Solbergs speach about blue economy at AU-summit side-event:

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I want to thank the Seyschelles for the invitation to this event, convened together with Kenya and Togo. I am delighted to be here, not only as Norwegian Prime Minister, but as co-convener of a High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Let me congratulate you and the African Union Commission on the development of Africa’s Blue Economy Strategy.

The Strategy provides an excellent framework to guide the development of a sustainable blue economy for Africa. Oceans, rivers and lakes provide food, jobs energy, and welfare. If managed properly, they hold the key to meeting many of the SDGs.

According to the Strategy, the value of the blue economy in Africa might grow by 37% by 2030 – and double by 2063. This will mean more jobs, food, energy, and welfare in the future. But to achieve this, we must find the right balance between protection and production. We must manage 100% of our oceans sustainably.This is why I initiated the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy in 2018.

The Panel is presently hard at work. Identifying concrete, scalable ocean solutions. I want to thank my colleagues in the Panel, including from Kenya, Ghana, Namibia and Canada for their commitment to this process.

Last year, the Panel released a study showing that ocean-based climate action can reduce the emissions gap by as much as 21% by 2050. This will help us meet the Paris goals. In June we will deliver a science-based report with a political action agenda at the UN Ocean Conference. The Panel has commissioned a series of independent research papers to offer a scientific basis for its work.

I am pleased to announce the arrival of the latest paper today. It looks at illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing – so-called IUU-fishing. IUU fishing poses a serious threat to sustainable global fisheries. It undercuts the many fishers who are playing by the rules. If allowed to continue, it will decrease the potential for blue growth. We need to take rapid action: Including tighter controls at ports, transparency in global fisheries and enhanced regional collaboration. Such action can radically improve fish production and profits. Let me mention an example from Indonesia: By taking strong action against illegal operators (mostly foreign-owned), Indonesia experienced a gradual growth in fish stocks: From 7.3 million tons in 2014 to 12.5 million tons in 2016. The policies also resulted in fishers getting better purchasing power. And state revenue grew.

The worst examples of IUU fishing are often connected to transnational crime. I therefore urge you to support the International Declaration against Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry.

Let me also mention the importance of reaching consensus in the WTO on harmful fisheries subsidies. To deliver on SDG 14.6. We need active engagement from all parties in the negotiations to achieve this by June 2020.

A reduction of global fisheries subsidies will benefit all. Not least many African countries who see their fish stocks depleted by subsidized vessels from other continents. Good governance is critical in the progress towards a sustainable blue economy. An effective policy framework will be important. The AU’s Blue Economy Strategy highlights this.

Going forward, securing commitment for the Strategy in member states and sub-regional organizations is of key importance. Bringing relevant stakeholders together will be crucial in that respect. Rest assured that Norway is a consistent partner – on Blue Economy and ocean action, as well as in other areas.