Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
· Congratulate the World Bank & President Zoellick on an important and timely initiative.
· Successful implementation of the new partnership could be very important to reduce poverty and redistribute wealth by providing the poor with more opportunity to live off and with the sea. Norway fully supports the initiative and will support it financially. I trust/welcome that the follow up work of the Declaration will start soon after Rio by further specifying targets and outlining subject projects in specific ocean areas.
· Oceans the largest unexplored territory on Earth. We know way too little about marine space and environment. Large knowledge gaps in our understanding of the interplay between oceans and climate. Deep oceans almost as poorly known as remote planets.
· Some of the compelling reasons why we through GPO should act collectively and decisively to conquer new frontiers are:
· Marine environment a source of enormous wealth, large untapped potential. Estimated that more than 90% of the marine biodiversity remains unexplored. Potential for marine energy still needs to be realised.
· Oceans and seas under huge pressure from human activities and climate change. Coastal areas increasingly crowded and threatened by pollution. Around 80 per cent of marine pollution caused by land-based activities. Must therefore be addressed on-shore. Critical that the new GPO enforces UNEPs already ongoing Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) by particularly focusing on reversing the continued trend of increased marine litter, wastewater/sewage and nutrient pollution.
· Marine environment continuously deteriorating, while fast growing global population is increasingly depending on marine food sources. Healthy oceans important for sustainable development and poverty alleviation, and to provide food and livelihoods for the coastal population.
· Fish protein and other edible products from the oceans and coastal areas essential for food and nutrition security in many countries. Coastal fisheries in developing countries often belong to the poorest and the most vulnerable part of the local population. They need our support.
· Norway gives high priority to international cooperation on research and management of the oceans. We do, however, not support the current efforts by some countries to scale up research on ocean fertilization as a means to increase the carbon sequestration of the oceans.
· Norwegian development cooperation within marine fisheries has a long standing history. Already in 1952, we made our first funding for development of the fisheries sector - in India. Since 1974. Norway has commissioned a research vessel for the sole use of developing countries, to build capacity, map and assess resources in more than 60 countries, and recently to introduce ecosystem approaches, including habitat conservation and restoration. This program currently managed by FAO. Challenges of climate change to fisheries will be an important aspect of the programme in the future.
· Today, responsible harvesting of the oceans is threatened by overfishing. Great impact on the income and future access to food resources in developing countries. GPO should support regional cooperation between interested Governments and civil society to promote responsible fisheries. We will share our experience with such support in for example Southern Africa.
· The global community has agreed on many important principles for responsible management of the marine resources. I trust the GPO will help countries implement these principles. FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its ecosystem approach to fisheries and aquaculture should be implemented by countries to a much larger extent than today.
· An important part of the problem of overfishing is Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing (IUU) and fisheries crime. IUU continues to deplete fish stocks, deprive states of natural resources and income, and undermine livelihoods of coastal communities. Fisheries management problems related to IUU-fishing has to be curbed through the FAO agreements on port state measures. Norway urges other States to ratify the agreement.
· Overfishing closely linked to transnational organized crime. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) should include fisheries crime as part of its work against environmental crime. INTERPOL recently launched “Project SCALE” to detect, suppress and combat fisheries crime. Very welcome initiative.
· Norway firmly believes that to combat IUU-fishing and fisheries crime we need a strong commitment and cooperation between FAO, UNODOC, Regional Fisheries Management Organizations and INTERPOL.
· GPO must be wary of the mandate of other organizations, draw, build on and enforce their work, and avoid overlap and unhealthy competition.
· I have the pleasure of announcing that Norway will support the GPO with USD 2 million in its initial year (2012).