On Tuesday 8 June, The Crown Princess marked World Oceans Day by taking part in a webinar on the UN's Decade of Ocean Science and the UNDP's Oceans Innovation Challenge.
The UN has designated 2021–2030 a Decade of Ocean Science.
The Crown Princess opened World Oceans Day with a pre-recorded speech at a webinar about the Swedish agenda for the UN's Decade of Ocean Science.
In her speech, The Crown Princess said:
"We are approaching a point where the damage to marine life is irreversible at a frightening rate. There is no way back from that point. And the only species who can reverse this trend – who must do so – is us.
"But if we are to expect people to take responsibility for the oceans, we must also give them the right conditions to understand. To understand how these sensitive marine ecosystems work, and why it is so important to defend them.
"With knowledge comes understanding. And with understanding, we can bring about change."
The Directors-General of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Formas and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management also spoke during the webinar about the four prioritised areas for Sweden during the decade: ecosystem-based ocean management, ocean awareness, data and innovations.
The webinar concluded with a presentation of Universeum's focus on sustainable oceans and the launch of Sweden's national committee for the UN's Decade of Ocean Science.
During the afternoon, The Crown Princess and HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway took part in a digital meeting within the framework of the United Nations Development Programme's Ocean Innovation Challenge.
The Ocean Innovation Challenge mobilises innovators to save the oceans, and is led by the UNDP with support from Sweden and Norway.
This year's challenge focuses on solutions for combatting ocean pollution. Nine innovators took part in the meeting. Their ideas had been selected from 600 entries and involved everything from producing organic alternatives to plastics, to sustainable seagrass cultivation as an alternative to synthetic fertilisers. They will now receive funding and support to realise their innovations.
The Crown Princess gave an opening speech, in which she said:
"For a very long time, the seas have given us humans what we need to survive. We have depended on the ocean and its gifts. But now, with climate change, pollution and overfishing, we are at a point where the ocean depends on us. It is time for us to give back – before it is too late.
"Ladies and gentlemen: While the ocean is under enormous pressure, it is also full of treasures. Under the surface, along with a diverse array of marine life, lie unique opportunities for us to contribute to solving the great challenges of our time.
"Dear Ocean Innovators: It is gratifying to see the diversity and the tangible ambitions of your ideas, with solutions to one of the biggest threats to ocean health: marine pollution."
Read the speech in full here Opens in new window..
Speakers then included Minister Peter Bolund, UN SG Special Envoy for the Ocean Peter Thomson, Administrator of the UNDP Achim Steiner and Crown Prince Haakon, who also led the discussion with the innovators.
The Crown Prince has been a UNDP goodwill ambassador since 2003, and he concluded the high-level meeting by saying:
"Some of the most severe challenges we are facing in the world today, like climate change and the threat to life below water, we share as a global community. They connect us. We need to unite to solve them."
In January 2016, the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed the Crown Princess as one of 17 advocates for the work involved with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The advocates' task is to promote the UN's Sustainable Development Goals – Agenda 2030 – in various ways. Since 2019, The Crown Princess has been part of the alumni group.
As an alumnus External link, opens in new window., The Crown Princess will continue to focus in particular on work relating to the sea and fishing.
Find out more about the global goals and Agenda 2030 at the UN's website External link, opens in new window..