First ever white paper on the place of the oceans in Norwegian foreign and development policy

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Ocean policy paper presented by Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

‘The Government is stepping up its efforts to promote Norway’s ocean interests. We intend to make sustainable use of the oceans a global priority,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. This is the first time a Norwegian government has presented a white paper on the place of the oceans in foreign and development policy.

The oceans offer huge potential for human development both in Norway and globally. The world population is expected to   increase by more than two billion by 2050, increasing our need to obtain   resources such as food and energy from the oceans. Norway has a long history   as a maritime nation, and there are considerable opportunities for   sustainable growth in ocean-based industries in the time ahead. However,   there is also serious concern about environmental problems such as pollution   and marine litter, climate change, and unsustainable uses of the oceans, such   as overfishing.

 

The white paper gives special priority to three   areas: sustainable use and blue growth, clean and healthy oceans, and the   role of the blue economy in development policy.

 

‘International cooperation is the key to tackling   the challenges we are facing. Environmental problems such as plastic litter   are threatening life in the sea. Given the importance of the oceans for a   large proportion of the world’s population, dealing with these problems   should be a global priority. Norway will play a leading role internationally   in efforts to keep the world’s oceans clean and healthy,’ said Mr Brende.

 

The Government will set aside NOK 100 million for a   development programme to combat marine litter and microplastics. The   Government will cooperate with international organisation and other countries   to ensure that the funding is used effectively. Norway has expertise,   knowledge and technology that is in great demand internationally. The white   paper makes it clear that marine research and marine management in developing   countries is an area where efforts will be considerably intensified.

 

The white paper highlights the Arctic seas as one of   Norway’s important ocean interests. It also emphasises the importance of   ensuring that the Law of the Sea is implemented effectively. The Law of the   Sea is of crucial importance for international stability and predictability,   and for marine management and commercial use of the oceans.

 

The white paper describes what the Government   intends to do to step up Norwegian efforts to promote sustainable use of the   oceans. The Government will

  •   launch   dialogues on ocean affairs with relevant countries with a view to sharing   experience and expertise and cooperating on measures to promote clean and   healthy oceans, sustainable use of marine resources and growth in the blue   economy  
  •   strengthen   the dialogue with influential countries on the part the shipping industry can   play in further improving the environmental performance of the transport   sector at global level
  •   call   for higher priority to be given to fisheries and aquaculture in efforts to   improve global food security
  •   consider   establishing a centre of expertise on ocean and Arctic issues in Tromsø
  •   establish   a development programme with a budget of NOK 100 million to combat marine   litter and microplastics; this will include steps to reduce waste quantities   and improve waste management
  •   allocate   over NOK 5 billion to climate-related measures through the development   assistance budget in 2017, in order to reduce the negative impacts of climate   change on the oceans
  •   increase support   for sustainable blue growth as part of its development policy by providing   more funding for the Fish for Development programme. The new research vessel RV   Dr Fridtjof Nansen will make it possible to significantly step up   Norway’s assistance for ecosystem-based marine management in developing   countries
  •   intensify   efforts to combat IUU fishing and fisheries crime, and urge more states to   ratify the Port State Measures Agreement on IUU fishing.

 

Summary   of the white paper.

 

 

Press contact: Marte   Lerberg Kopstad, marte.kopstad@mfa.no