Thank you for inviting me to this important event. I had the honor to visit two of the Pacific Island countries – Fiji and Samoa – in March this year.
The visit served to illustrate the common interests related to oceans and climate change – between Norway and Samoa and Fiji, but also between Norway and other Pacific Islands:
We are all countries that depend on our coasts and oceans for our survival. Climate change and marine resources are therefore areas where we have many common interests.
Norway – with its extensive coastline and longstanding traditions for fishing and sea transport – has deep connections to the sea.
We are all vulnerable to the impacts of climate change: To the impacts from sea-level rise, storm surges and flooding. Your countries and your people are affected in a more direct way than most other countries.
We must take action now to secure a future where our oceans can deliver the resources and services that the world needs. It is fully possible to combine the activities of ocean-based industries and ensure a healthy marine environment as long as you have good environmental standards, and proper enforcement of them. The Norwegian ocean areas are a clear example that it is possible.
Being coastal nations, we share an interest in safeguarding marine resources for future generations. The UN Convention of the Law of the Sea is a backbone for Norway in this work, and of crucial importance for international stability and predictability, as well as for marine management and commercial use of the oceans.
International collaboration is essential for the sustainable management of migrating fish stocks. To promote sustainable management of fish stocks worldwide Norway collaborates closely with FAO. In partnership with FAO we also support developing countries’ efforts to foster sustainable small-scale fisheries.
Last week Norway hosted the first Meeting of the Parties to the FAO Port State Measures Agreement against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. Several of the Pacific Islands countries have ratified or signed the agreement.
Norway intends to continue its long-standing support for the Agreement, and its collaboration with FAO. We need to convince more countries to accede to it, and we must make sure that it is put into practice. This will be in everyone’s interests.
Thus, the Norwegian Government has decided to allocate up to 10 million Norwegian kroner, approximately 1 million Euro, to support the implementation of the Port State Agreement. In this way, we will be playing a part in making the Agreement a more and more effective tool for combating IUU fishing the years ahead.
In February, Norway and Samoa hosted a successful side-event here in New York on ocean science, technology and related capacities towards achieving sustainable development. We hope that Norway and the Pacific Islands States can find more opportunities for collaboration within these areas in the future.
Thank you for your attention.