Enhancing Maritime Security: A case for international cooperation

On the 9. August, Norway, as elected member of the UNSC Security Council, participated in an open debate on maritime security organized by India. The event with the title “Enhancing Maritime Security: A case for international cooperation” is the first of three signature events organized by India as president of the UNSC in August.

The event, hosted by Prime Minister Modi and attended by several heads of states and ministers from the member states, took a comprehensive approach to maritime security. It addressed a broad range of challenges, including contested boundaries and navigation routes that do not conform to international law, the depletion of natural resources and armed attacks and crimes at sea, such as piracy, robbery and terrorist acts. It also recognized the importance of enhancing international and regional cooperation to counter threats, and encouraged countries to continue building and strengthening their capacities to enhance maritime safety and security.

During the meeting, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide commended India for bringing maritime security to the agenda of the Security Council. In her address, she underscored the importance of the maritime domain for the world economy, global development and security, and how the oceans are key to reaching many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Referencing the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s address to the UN General Assembly, she underlined that 80 % of the world’s trade is transported by ship, including food, medical equipment and energy products. “Safeguarding the security of our seafarers and protecting the health of the ocean - governed by the Law of the Sea - are cornerstones of Norway’s foreign policy”. With a particular focus on piracy, she ended by underscoring the role of the UN Security Council to deal with the issues. “It can and should take robust action to make the oceans safe and secure”.

Like India, Norway is a maritime nation. In 2017, the Norwegian government launched a White Paper on the place of the oceans in Norway's foreign and development policy. In this White Paper, maritime security is seen as crucial to achieving the goal of strengthening sustainable economic development in the oceans, clean and healthy oceans and the role of the blue economy in development policy.