Government to provide NOK 3 billion to promote cleaner oceans

Norway will provide more than NOK 3 billion to a number of initiatives to promote sustainable ocean management in the period 2020-2024. The initiatives will be announced at the Our Ocean conference in Oslo, which begins today.

The conference will bring together 500 world leaders and 100 youth representatives from a total of around 100 countries. They will present ideas and concrete solutions for how we can protect the oceans and make better use of marine resources.

‘We must protect the oceans from pollution, but at the same time ensure that the oceans can continue to provide us with food and energy. It will only be possible to create new jobs and new industries if we ensure sustainable management of marine areas and make use of new technology. All countries need to do more, and Norway will step up its efforts both nationally and internationally,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who will be the main speaker at the conference.

More than three billion people depend on the oceans for their livelihoods. Ocean industries contribute USD 1,5 trillion to the global economy every year. Ocean-based industries are vital for Norway too. Around 70 % of Norwegian export revenues are from ocean industries.

‘Norway’s ocean industries have an important role to play in developing and introducing new sustainable solutions both in Norway and internationally. The Government will launch 16 major initiatives with funding of more than NOK 3 billion in the period 2020-2024,’ said Ms Solberg.

Norway has played an active part in the annual Our Ocean conferences, the first of which was held in 2014. This year, the conference will be hosted by Norway, represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

‘The oceans provide food, energy, jobs and welfare for people all over the world. But research shows that the oceans are becoming warmer, more acidic and less salty. This is having serious consequences for marine life, fisheries, sea-level rise and weather systems. Many of these changes are taking place faster than we had expected. To deal with these challenges, we need to work together across national borders and strengthen partnerships between the business sector, research communities, authorities and organisations. This conference is an opportunity to do just that,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein will open the conference’s Youth Leadership Summit, which will involve 100 participants from 48 countries.

‘It is important that the voices of future leaders are heard in the discussions on climate and environmental matters. One of the issues that the young people will explore at the summit is the fight against marine litter, including plastics,’ said Mr Ulstein.

‘Norway is at the forefront of efforts to put in place a global agreement on marine litter and microplastics by 2023. This would be an important milestone in the efforts to protect the marine environment and to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the target on reducing marine pollution,’ said Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen.

Fisheries crime is another important theme at the conference, and Norway will highlight the importance of working towards a common ambition of a crime-free blue economy.

‘The oceans are a vital source of food, jobs and welfare. These are three of the reasons why the fight against fisheries crime is so important for Norway. Norway has responsibility for huge sea areas, and we therefore have a responsibility for drawing attention to this issue,’ said Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Harald T. Nesvik.

‘Norway also has long and valuable experience to share when it comes to the successful co-existence of oil and gas production, active fisheries and a large aquaculture sector,’ said Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg.

Norway’s priorities

Climate change

  • Support zero- and low-emission solutions in domestic shipping (NOK 100 million)
  • Establish the Green Voyage-2050 project together with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) (NOK 50 million, Ministry of Climate and Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Provide support through Enova for the Hywind Tampen project to develop a floating offshore wind farm in the North Sea (NOK 2.3 billion, Ministry of Climate and Environment)
  • Complete the pre-project for a CO2 storage facility in the North Sea (NOK 225 million, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy)

Sustainable fisheries

  • Strengthen the Fish for Development programme (NOK 50 million, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Provide support to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to implement the Port State Measures Agreement (NOK 20 million, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Provide support for a project on food from the oceans (NOK 20 million per year for a period of five years, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Establish the ‘Blue Justice’ initiative to assist developing countries in combating crime in the fisheries sector (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Not to provide subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing or benefit IUU fishing; - to continue active and constructive engagement in the fisheries subsidies negotiations in order to reach consensus on the whole mandate and successfully conclude the negotiations; - to reinvigorate our efforts to this end.

Protection of the oceans

  • Work to secure a new global agreement and establish a stronger global governance system to combat marine litter and microplastics by 2023 (Ministry of Climate and Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Cooperate with IMO and FAO under the development programme to combat marine litter (NOK 50 million, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Climate and Environment)
  • Continue the work on a plan for marine protected areas with the aim of protecting a representative selection of Norway’s coastal and marine areas (Ministry of Climate and Environment)
  • Work to secure a global ban on the persistent organic pollutants PFHxS and Dechlorane Plus (Ministry of Climate and Environment)
  • Provide reports on the marine environment based on Norway’s extensive environmental monitoring activities (Ministry of Climate and Environment)

Knowledge and skills transfer

  • Provide support for the pre-project phase for Ocean Space Laboratories (NOK 55 million, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries)
  • Strengthen Norwegian development cooperation on ocean management through the new Oceans for Development programme (NOK 25 million)
  • Promote integrated, ecosystem-based marine management internationally, as well as sustainable ocean industries through the World Bank’s multi-donor trust fund PROBLUE (NOK 46 million, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Support the work of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) on the UN Decade of Ocean Science (NOK 4.25 million, Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and Ministry of Foreign Affairs) 
  • Support a pilot project for mapping of the seabed near the coast (NOK 85 million in the period 2020-2022 provided to counties, municipalities, the Institute of Marine Research and the Geological Survey of Norway. Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation).