Speech by HE Haakon Gram-Johannessen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway
- Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi,
- Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta,
- Members of parliament,
- Colleagues of the diplomatic corps,
- Ladies and gentlemen,
About two years ago, Norway and Mozambique joined forces to promote the issue of sustainable ocean management in this sub-region.
As a result, the 1st edition of the Growing Blue Conference was organized in Maputo in 2019. We are pleased to have contributed to the endeavour which through this 2nd edition has stablished itself as recognised platform and sounding board for sustainable ocean management.
Bilateral cooperation makes up an important part of global efforts to promote healthy oceans and the blue economy. Mozambique and Norway can look back at more than 30 years of cooperation on sustainable use of ocean resources.
This includes considerable contributions through the World Bank PROBLUE Programme, which provides support to PROAZUL-Mozambique.
With a view to ensure continued advocacy, research and knowledge-sharing about sustainable ocean development, in December next year, the 107-year-old 98-meter-long Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl, will visit Mozambique as part of the “One Ocean Expedition”.
The ship will sail 55,000 nautical miles and visit 36 ports worldwide. We invite you all to become "digital passengers" on this epic expedition by following the tour online.
The potential of the blue economy is huge and constantly growing as innovation and new technologies are developed. Oceans industries in the Norwegian Economy amounted to USD 80 bill in 2019, or approx. 30% of total value creation in our business sector.
Thus, the oceans represent wealth and prosperity. At the same time, the health of the ocean is under severe threat.
A depleted ocean makes it more difficult to sustain life on earth, tackle climate change and meet the SDG’s. The solutions to restore ocean health exist, and we urgently need to implement them.
This was why former Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, in 2018, launched the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, to raise global awareness of the precarious state of the oceans and build political momentum to change the way we treat it.
In December 2020 the Panel launched its ocean action-agenda. This is a set of bold, yet pragmatic, priority actions to transform how the we can protect and use the ocean and ultimately sustainably manage our impacts on it.
The ambitious commitment by panel countries is to achieve 100% sustainable ocean management of areas within their national jurisdiction by 2025. Other countries are encouraged to establish similar Sustainable Ocean Planning (SOP) by 2030.
Sustainable Ocean Plans must be developed and implemented through an inclusive, participatory, transparent, and accountable process. Maintaining a healthy ocean will require action on many fronts and in many sectors.
The work of the Ocean Panel has been guided by an exceptional call for knowledge products produced by 250 experts from all over the world and delivered through special reports and blue papers.
Among the topics are climate change, conservation, plastic pollution as well as critical habitats & biodiversity.
This solid scientific platform combined with leaders' willingness to be guided by facts and research reinforced a creative and innovative diplomacy. We do hope this will set an example and inspire regional and national endeavours worldwide.
The Panel is also working with UN Decade of Ocean Science to unleash the full potential of ocean knowledge for a sustainable ocean economy, incorporating expertise at all levels, including vital indigenous knowledge.
Finally, through its emphasise on knowledge and facts, the panel is contributing towards preparing the ground for The UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in 2022 which will propel science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.
As we start preparing for Lisbon, we are pleased to be here in Vilanculos to keep up momentum and foster new ideas, inspiration and commitment towards increased investment in healthy oceans.
We are most thankful for the leadership demonstrated by the government of Mozambique on these matters.
Moreover, next week there will be an AU-stakeholders workshop in Windhoek, Namibia, regarding implementation of the African Blue Economy Strategy. Yet another regional initiative to bolster joint efforts to the benefit of our oceans.
Action by ocean nations in all regions is exactly what we need. Our well-being depends on a healthy ocean. It always has. It always will.