The conference will bring together 500 world leaders and 100 youth representatives from a total of around 100 countries. They will present ideas and concrete solutions for how we can protect the ocean and make better use of marine resources.
‘We must protect the ocean from pollution, but at the same time ensure that the ocean can continue to provide us with food and energy. It will only be possible to create new jobs and new industries if we ensure sustainable management of marine areas and make use of new technology. All countries need to do more, and Norway will step up its efforts both nationally and internationally,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who will be the main speaker at the conference.
More than three billion people depend on the ocean for their livelihoods. Ocean industries contribute USD 1,5 trillion to the global economy every year. Ocean-based industries are vital for Norway too. Around 70 % of Norwegian export revenues are from ocean industries.
‘Norway’s ocean industries have an important role to play in developing and introducing new sustainable solutions both in Norway and internationally. The Government will launch 16 major initiatives with funding of more than NOK 3 billion in the period 2020-2024,’ said Ms Solberg.
Norway has played an active part in the annual Our Ocean conferences, the first of which was held in 2014. This year, the conference will be hosted by Norway, represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
‘The ocean provides food, energy, jobs and welfare for people all over the world. But research shows that the ocean is becoming warmer, more acidic and less salty. This is having serious consequences for marine life, fisheries, sea-level rise and weather systems. Many of these changes are taking place faster than we had expected. To deal with these challenges, we need to work together across national borders and strengthen partnerships between the business sector, research communities, authorities and organisations. This conference is an opportunity to do just that,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein will open the conference’s Youth Leadership Summit, which will involve 100 participants from 48 countries.
‘It is important that the voices of future leaders are heard in the discussions on climate and environmental matters. One of the issues that the young people will explore at the summit is the fight against marine litter, including plastics,’ said Mr Ulstein.
‘Norway is at the forefront of efforts to put in place a global agreement on marine litter and microplastics by 2023. This would be an important milestone in the efforts to protect the marine environment and to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the target on reducing marine pollution,’ said Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen.
Fisheries crime is another important theme at the conference, and Norway will highlight the importance of working towards a common ambition of a crime-free blue economy.
‘The oceans are a vital source of food, jobs and welfare. These are three of the reasons why the fight against fisheries crime is so important for Norway. Norway has responsibility for huge sea areas, and we therefore have a responsibility for drawing attention to this issue,’ said Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Harald T. Nesvik.
‘Norway also has long and valuable experience to share when it comes to the successful co-existence of oil and gas production, active fisheries and a large aquaculture sector,’ said Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg.