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The Ocean: From Challenges to Opportunities

We cannot just ask what the ocean can do for us – but also what we can do for the ocean. This is the way to keep oceans clean, nations rich and winters white, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen said during the opening of Nor-Shipping.

Your Majesty, Ministers, Excellencies,

Dear friends of the Seven Seas,

A warm welcome to Oslo, Norway and Nor-Shipping 2019! 

You may have heard that we Norwegians are born with skis attached to our feet.

But what is even more true is that:  

We are born by the sea.

We live by the sea, from the sea and off the sea.

The sea has forced us – or inspired us – to be alert and aware of dangers, to ride the waves, reef the sail and catch the wind – to think new and to meet challenges with confidence.

To heed the mighty forces of Mother Nature – without surrendering to them. 

Our national heroes are not generals – but sailors, fishermen, shipbuilders and explorers.

And cross-country skiers.

Let me honour one seafaring hero in particular:

His Majesty King Harald V.  

He is not only a true champion of the maritime industry – but also a true world champion in one-tonne yacht sailing.

Winning gold is great – but the single most important thing the sea has done for us is to connect us with the world.

It has enabled us to trade with other nations, to learn from them, to be inspired by them.

 

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Global trade has led to an unprecedented level of prosperity – and it has reinforced the interdependence of nations and our sense of common destiny.

The captains and vessels that carry the tonnage of this modern world are you – ladies and gentlemen – whether you own ships, build ships or sail ships.  

Norway will continue to stand up for free trade and freedom of navigation.

But we also need the wisdom of navigation.

As we face tremendous challenges – from poverty to pollution and climate change – we must work together to unleash the tremendous potential of the ocean – from job-creation to nutrition and curing diseases. 

We cannot just ask what the ocean can do for us – but also what we can do for the ocean.  

Instead of worrying what the transition to a greener future is going to cost, many of you have proven that green technology does not lead to red numbers in the account book.

Dead oceans lead to red numbers.

Norwegian shipyards have developed the world's first gas-driven car ferry, the first electric ferry and the first electric fishing boat.

Hydrogen-driven vessels are under way.

Many of you have reached similar milestones.

But it is not enough.

We need more green innovation – and policies that promote it.

The IMO has made an historic agreement to reduce emissions.

This is the star we must navigate by.

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Norway has had countless heroes at sea – as other seafaring nations have.

Today – we need them more than ever:

Engineers, explorers and entrepreneurs.

We need more female engineers, explorers and entrepreneurs.

I commend IMO and WISTA for organising Waves of Change as part of this conference. 

Norway's economy has profited tremendously from the active participation of highly educated women in our labour force.

Imagine what we can achieve if the potential of the ocean and the potential of maritime heroines are unleashed at the same time.

As kids dream about becoming fashion bloggers or football players – the real heroes of tomorrow are those that dive into the sea, discover new medicines and develop the ideas that we need.   

This is the way to keep oceans clean, nations rich and winters white.

After all, we want to use the skis we are born with.

Thank you.

 

 

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