| Oslo, Norway

Strong Caribbean Representation in Oslo: Our Ocean. Our Future.

Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

The state of the ocean and measures to ensure healthy, clean and productive oceans were the main themes at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which was held in Oslo, Norway 23-24 October.

Safeguarding the ocean for future generations is a shared responsibility and a matter of global urgency. This is why the conference brought together 500 leaders from 100 countries in Oslo, including strong high-level representation from the Caribbean Region. The Caribbean countries share commonalities with Norway:

"We are small countries, but huge ocean states, and the blue economy holds great potential for us. We need to be champions of adapting to climate change as well as keeping our oceans healthy”

said the Minister of climate resilience, environment and fisheries from Grenada, Simon Stiell.

 Photo credit: Stine Østby / Medvind / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon in a discussion with Grenada’s Minister of climate resilience, environment and fisheries, Simon Stiell. Photo credit: Stine Østby / Medvind / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

The participants of Our Ocean 2019 shared experiences and identified solutions for how to protect the ocean and make better use of marine resources. The message was to meet the challenges facing the ocean by putting knowledge, technology and finance into action. Production and sustainable use must go hand in hand so that the ocean can continue to provide for the needs of future generations.

But, as highlighted by Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide:

The aim of the Our Ocean conferences is not only to capture the world’s attention. It is also to get the world to act”

SIDS Seminar and Sargassum workshop: the Caribbean perspectives

Norway’s Ambassador to Cuba and the Caribbean, Ingrid Mollestad, was attending the conference together with high-level representation from the Caribbean, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Grenada and Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and and representatives from CARICOM and OECS.

Representatives from the region gave the Caribbean perspectives visibility through several key note presentations, and in the panel debates. They also met with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon, and had bilateral meetings with Norway’s Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, and meetings with Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen and Norway’s Minister of Fisheries Harald Nesvik.

In relation to the conference, a full day seminar for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was arranged with the overall theme: “Ocean management: opportunities, challenges and experience”.

Photo credit: Stine Østby / Medvind / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
From the right: The Hon. Louis Straker (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), the. Hon. Simon Stiell (Grenada), Minister of International Development Dag Inge Ulstein (Norway), the Hon. Reagan Aliklik (Nauru) and the Hon. Kirk Duncan Humphrey (Barbados). Photo credit: Stine Østby / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

Further, the conference had a side event on Sargassum Weed. The purpose was to shed light on the problems, challenges and opportunities posed by Sargassum weed for ecosystems, tourism and fisheries in the Caribbean. The seminar also included private sectors and innovators who are working on possible innovative solutions to the problem, including the Norwegian companies EnviroNor and Brightcore Quantum.

Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
Minister of Environment and housing Romauld Ferreira and Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resoucres Michael Pintard from Bahamas had a bilateral meeting with Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, and shared the recent experience with the devastating hurricane Dorian, and the dramatic effects to their country. Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

Commitments

At the core of Our Ocean conferences, are voluntary commitments for a clean, healthy and productive ocean.

Photo credit: Stine Østby / Medvind / MFA, Oslo
“All countries need to do more, and Norway will step up its efforts both nationally and internationally,” said the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Photo credit: Stine Østby / Medvind / MFA, Oslo

In Oslo, Norway announced 17 commitments worth just over 328 million dollars to promote sustainable ocean management in the period 2020-2024. Norway is also at the forefront of efforts to put in place a global agreement on marine litter and micro plastics by 2023.

There was a great global engagement at the Our Ocean conference in Oslo. 370 commitments were made, at a total value of at least 63 billion dollars. Read more about the commitments made at Our Ocean 2019 here.

“Every second breath we take comes from phytoplankton in the ocean, and it is urgent to improve the state of the ocean. Now, we must put the commitments made in Oslo into practice,”

said Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Stine Østby / Medvind / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
The Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, meeting with leaders from all over the world. Photo credit: Stine Østby / Medvind / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo


Our Ocean 2020 will be held in Palau.