HRH The Crown Princess' speech at the symposium Reconnecting to the biosphere and stewardship of the anthropocene ocean

Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien, Stockholm

(The spoken version shall take precedence)

Your Royal Highnesses,
Minister,
Excellences,
Ladies and gentlemen,

First, I want to thank Crown Prince Haakon for his inspiring speech, on a matter that we all care deeply about.

I can only agree with what the Crown Prince said about Norway’s and Sweden’s special connection to – and by – the ocean.

I believe that we, our peoples, share a strong bond to nature.
To the forests and mountains that unite us – and to the sea that surrounds us.
As two countries with long coastlines, the ocean has shaped our history. And it continues to shape our future.

I have always thought of the ocean as something powerful, vast, deep, and fascinating. Something that evokes feelings of freedom and inspiration.

However, in more recent years, I have come to understand not only what the ocean gives to us, but also how much we take for granted:

We rely on the ocean to be clean and healthy.
To be filled with life.
To provide food to millions, even billions of people all over the world.
And, on top of this, we count on the ocean to keep the climate stable.

The ocean has been alive for almost as long as our planet has existed.
Life emerged there nearly four billion years ago.
Some two billion years later, life appeared on land as well.
Homo sapiens only evolved around 250 000 years ago,
and the last 50 years have seen a dramatic increase in human imprint on the ocean.

There are many bold promises that look good on paper. But what we need now is no more promises, but to think and act together, and to demonstrate real results.

It is my hope that today’s symposium will be a step in that direction. I look forward to learning more, and to achieving more – Norway and Sweden, together.

HRH The Crown Princess

Today, we are at a point where we can no longer take the ocean, and its services to us humans, for granted.

Luckily, the last five years have generated a major increase in the attention that politicians and business leaders are devoting to the ocean – and to the climate system.

But, as we all know too well by now: attention is not sufficient.

The last IPCC report underlined that we have a “brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all”. In order to meet the global goals and keep humanity safe, we need to take care both of our CO2-emissions and of the ocean.

This is not a small task. It requires science. And science needs to inform the actions of individuals, governments and companies. This requires cooperation, and this year needs a major breakthrough in action.

It is amazing – and terrifying – to think that one year can be so crucial for a four billion year history!

There are many bold promises that look good on paper. But what we need now is no more promises, but to think and act together, and to demonstrate real results.

It is my hope that today’s symposium will be a step in that direction. I look forward to learning more, and to achieving more – Norway and Sweden, together.

Thank you!

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