UNGA: Sustainable Oceans High-level Event

Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the high-level event on sustainable oceans at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, 20 September 2017.


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Ladies and gentlemen
Friends of the oceans

Mr President, thank you for setting the scene.

Without the oceans, there would be no life on our planet. The oceans make human life possible.

In the years to come, the world’s growing population will need more food, medicines, energy, and minerals.

If managed wisely, the oceans hold the key to meeting these needs.

If managed wisely, they also hold the key to meeting many of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Estimates show that ocean-based industries could more than double their contribution to the world economy by 2030. 

According to the World Bank, the global fisheries sector could earn more than 80 billion US dollars annually if overfishing is reduced.

Using the oceans sustainably will not only pay off. It could be the smartest investment we ever make.

To make this a reality, we need policies and tools that promote economic development while taking ecological limits and climate change properly into account.

There are plenty of challenges to address.

But we also have valuable tools at our disposal for addressing them.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is essential.

Clear rules and stable framework conditions are necessary for peaceful international cooperation, sound resource management and blue growth.

We must make safeguarding the fragile marine environment a priority while at the same time developing new industries and activities.

We must encourage scientific development, share experience and achieve a common understanding of problems and solutions.

Climate change and abuse of the environment and natural resources, such as pollution and overfishing, are creating enormous problems.

Every year a staggering 12 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean.

This simply has to stop.

Almost every day I get letters from children in Norway. They are concerned. And they urge me to do something.

Norway recently launched a development programme to combat marine litter and microplastics.

I am happy that many others are also pushing the issue of marine litter to the top of the agenda.

To combat this huge and growing problem, we need even closer international cooperation.

Norway welcomed the UN’s decision to appoint a special envoy for the oceans. We stand ready to support the work of the special envoy, including by providing funding. I am confident that the appointment of the special envoy will strengthen the UN’s efforts to ensure sustainable use of the oceans.

In the time ahead, I believe that closer coordination will be key.

We must make use of expertise across sectors. Partnerships should be forged between governments, the private sector and civil society.

Sustainable management of the marine environment requires local experience and knowledge. This means that regional organisations have a crucial role to play in reaching SDG 14.

Together we can boost the blue economy. Together we can make the most of our oceans.

Thank you.