State Secretary Hagen’s opening address highlighted the great opportunities and challenges related to the ocean economy, focusing specifically on Norway’s sustainable harvest of natural resources. Hagen stated that the oceans hold the promise of immense resource wealth and great potential for boosting economic growth, employment and innovation. Furthermore, the oceans are increasingly recognized as indispensable for addressing global concerns such as world food security, climate change, the provision of energy and improved medical care. However, the world’s oceans face challenges in the form of over-exploitation, pollution, declining biodiversity and climate change. The State Secretary highlighted that Norway has harvested from the ocean resources for centuries without reducing their value, and has the ambition of being a leader in the global ocean sustainability issue.
Following Hagen’s opening address, Mr. Edmund Hughes from the IMO presented the Organization’s work in developing and maintaining a regulatory framework for international shipping, with a focus on environmental issues. Members of the IMO have committed to reducing the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050, whilst pursuing efforts towards phasing them completely out by the end of the century.
The Ambassador of Kenya to the WTO, H.E. Dr. Cleopa Mailu, gave a presentation on the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, which will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 26th to the 29th of November. The Ambassador emphasized the need to address the untapped potentials of the oceans, seas and lakes. In addition, he highlighted the need to empower women and youth as the main stakeholders in the blue economy.
State Secretary Hagen's full opening address can be found here.