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I would like to start by saying how pleased I am to be here at this side event on sustainable management of marine resources in the Red Sea State of the Republic of Sudan. The issues we are discussing today – taking good care of the marine environment, fostering economic development and ensuring food security – are of great importance. We Norwegians know that well.
Fish and other marine resources have always been important to Norway. The ocean has been instrumental in the economic and social development of the whole country.
We believe that all coastal countries should benefit from what the ocean has to offer. This is why the Norwegian Government is funding projects in the Red Sea State to enhance food security and to promote diversification of the economy and the sustainable management of fish stocks.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the first meeting of the Parties to the FAO Port State Measures Agreement, which took place in Oslo. Sudan acceded to this milestone agreement in May 2016, and I am pleased that our two countries are partners in this effort to rid the world of illegal fishing.
The Sudanese Federal Minister of Animal Resources, Mr Bushara Aror Abdalla, attended the meeting in Oslo as well, and the Sudanese delegation was able to provide valuable input to the proceedings.
Norway is deeply committed to sustainable fisheries at global level. This is why we are supporting efforts to strengthen the knowledge base and institutional capabilities of the Red Sea State so that it can develop its fisheries sustainably. We know from experience how important it is to have a sound institutional basis and good data on catches and fish stocks, so that it is possible to make informed management decisions.
Cooperation across institutions and countries plays a key role in the two projects we are supporting. UNIDO is responsible for project implementation, and the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research provides expertise. The Institute also carries out project activities such as training of Sudanese partners.
The cooperation with UNIDO is vital to both projects. The agency makes many important contributions, for example by helping to find practical solutions to customs and administration issues.
There are three Sudanese partners in the projects:
- the Marine Fisheries Administration
- the Red Sea State Fisheries Research Institute, and
- the Faculty of Marine Science at the University of the Red Sea State.
The projects have already made progress, particularly in building fisheries statistics systems and in training personnel in scientific methods and resource surveys. Capacity building of this kind is vital.
However, more needs to be done to secure and strengthen institutional capacity in the long run. For the projects to achieve their goals in the years ahead it will be necessary to:
- develop local capacity to collect and maintain fisheries statistics
- continue regular research surveys
- monitor the sustainability of industrial trawling activities
- ensure technical assistance for the development of management plans for critical fish stocks, and
- assess the feasibility of developing an industrial fishing sector.
Commitment from local authorities will be crucial in this work.
We are optimistic about the future. By strengthening the institutional capacity of the Marine Fisheries Administration to develop and maintain a database on fish stocks and fish landings, the project will establish a knowledge base for the sustainable management and further development of artisanal and semi-industrial fisheries in the Red Sea State.
Our collaboration in the two projects will help to make progress towards several of the sustainable development goals, including goal one on ending poverty, goal two on ending hunger, goal eight on inclusive economic growth, and goal fourteen on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans.
In conclusion, we need to increase awareness of the crucial role seafood can play for food security and nutrition. The projects we are involved in here are definitely contributing to this.