Building ocean knowledge for sustainable development

Statement by State Secretary Ms. Tone Skogen at #SaveOurOcean Side Event on Building ocean knowledge for sustainable development – How science will contribute to achieving SDG 14, 8 June 2017.

| The Ocean Conference

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Thank you for inviting Norway to take part in this event on the role of ocean science in sustainable development.

Throughout Norway’s history, ocean resources have been crucial for our survival and for our development. The seas have given us routes to friends, allies and trading partners for hundreds of years.

The seas are still important for us. Norway is a leading maritime nation, with one of the biggest fleets in the world.

The Norwegian ocean economy accounts for more than 70 % of our export revenues – which underlines the importance of the ocean for the whole of Norwegian society.

And our exports of fish and seafood are currently the world's second largest.

We have experienced ourselves how important scientific observations are for sustainable management of the ocean.

This year the Norwegian Government has presented no less than three important policy documents on marine issues: an ocean strategy, a white paper on ocean issues in Norway’s foreign and ­development policy, and an update of the integrated management plan for the Norwegian Sea. As you can tell, the ocean is high up on our political agenda.

The invitation to this side event pointed out that few countries have developed ocean research policies to support sustainable development. We are working hard to do so. Norway is investing heavily in research and in mapping and monitoring activities, and has set the ocean as one of its top research priorities.

Let me give a few examples:

  • We are running a cross-sectoral seabed mapping programme called Mareano. This is developing knowledge that can provide a basis for profitable blue economy investments with a minimal footprint.
  • We also fund the Nansen programme, which has operated the research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen under the UN flag since the 1970s. It promotes the ecosystem approach to fisheries, and thus strengthens regional and country efforts to reduce poverty and enhance food security. The third vessel was launched this spring.

A few days ago, Norway received the IOC prize for developing human resources in ocean science. I am proud that Norway has established strong research institutions that are making an important contribution to international ocean science.

I am also very pleased that Professor Peter Haugan has been elected chair of the IOC. He will not only be bringing his own expertise in to the IOC, but also that of Norwegian institutions.

There can be no doubt that increasing our knowledge of the ocean systems is essential for ensuring sustainable activities in the ocean and for achieving SDG14 and the 2030 Agenda.

We need healthy oceans and the blue economy to achieve the future we want. But neither will be possible without marine science.

I look forward to hearing more about the status of ocean science around the world here today in connection with the Global Ocean Science Report and to discussing the development of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.