'I am pleased that Vidar Helgesen has agreed to be Norway's Special Envoy to the High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy. This is an important initiative, both for our country and for the world as a whole. With his broad background and extensive experience of working in the international arena, Mr Helgesen has much to offer in this role. His contributions will undoubtedly be invaluable,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The High-level Panel, which is chaired by Prime Minister Solberg and consists of heads of government from a number of coastal states, will submit a report in 2020. Mr Helgesen will work closely with the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean and other relevant national and international partners.
'As Norway is a maritime nation, it is natural for us to use our expertise in the international work to promote sustainable management of the oceans. We are seeking to play a leading role in the fight against marine litter, and a draft resolution put forward by Norway, setting out a vision of zero discharge of plastic litter and microplastics into the oceans, was adopted by the UN Environment Assembly. The Government will also launch a development programme to combat marine litter, and has allocated NOK 150 million for this purpose in 2018,' Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup said.
'For a number of years now, the Government has been increasing its efforts at the global level to promote sustainable use of the oceans. Prime Minister Solberg's High-level Panel is a significant and visible initiative that will require a concerted effort and close follow-up in the time ahead,' said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
In 2017, the Government presented a white paper on the place of the oceans in Norway's foreign and development policy and an ocean strategy aimed at promoting continued sustainable growth in Norway's ocean-based industries. Norway will host the international conference Our Ocean in the autumn of 2019. International cooperation is essential if we are to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the High-level Panel will help to strengthen this cooperation.