UN high-level week: Sustainable Ocean Principles
Ladies and gentlemen
It is great to be back at the UN.
The American psychologist and philosopher William James once wrote: "We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep". I will come back to how this relates to all of us who are gathered here today, but first:
I am very happy to be back in this building, with the view of the East River and immersed in important discussions on our world’s most critical challenges.
Twenty years ago I had the pleasure of participating in this impressive machinery of multilateral diplomacy as a trainee at the Norwegian Permanent Mission. I experienced the constant outreach to others in order to build bridges to common ground. This broad cooperation has led us to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Both personally, and in my capacity as Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP, one of my top priorities is raising awareness of these common global goals.
The ocean is a key priority – because it relates to so many of our global challenges.
How we protect and use our oceans will be decisive for our common future:
- For combatting climate change.
- For ending poverty and hunger.
- For producing the energy we need.
- And for the protection of the environment and the ecosystems that we all depend on.
In this distinguished audience, I do not need to list the threats that are facing our oceans. You know it all – and you relate to them through your businesses every single day.
So let me rather list why I dare aspire to be a hopeful realist – despite all the challenges we are facing. They are three factors:
- International cooperation
You gathered here in this room represent all three of them.
The cooperation between sectors and stakeholders is fundamental to achieving our common goals. The private sector plays a key role.
I am impressed by the creativity and capability of companies all over the world. Every day we see innovations that give us reasons to hope: New ways of working together, of rethinking business models, and the creation of new technology and scientific methods. Many of you contribute to this global innovation.
The Sustainable Ocean Principles you are launching today will provide a framework for ocean related business around the world, and the signatories to the principles will take action in order to promote the well-being of the ocean. The principles address:
- ocean health and productivity,
- governance and engagement,
- data and transparency.
The underlining message is a commitment within all types of sectors to conduct their business in a sustainable manner. This is not only good for the ocean environment, but also good for business, as we expect the ocean economy to double by 2030.
And - it is sound leadership.
The pledge of leaving no one behind needs companies who inspire their employees to raise awareness about the SDGs in their visions and strategies.
For every company, and every single one of its employees, it is meaningful to put their activity into a greater context. No context is greater than the future of our planet.
So let me take you back to where I started:
"We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep".
The UN Global Compact and its Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform has done an impressive job agreeing on the nine Principles launched here today. The more than 300 stakeholders who have been part of this process worldwide – is demonstrating an example and serve as an inspiration in our joint efforts to keep our ocean clean, healthy and productive.
We must never forget that the natural world connects us all.
We may be far apart, but the oceans unite us.
We share common challenges – and we need to unite to solve them.
As humans, we know that our footprints are all over our planet.
We now need our fingerprints to be all over the solutions.
I wish you every success in your continued important work.