(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. I am delighted to see you all here in beautiful Bergen: the city between the seven mountains and the gateway to the fjords.
Today, King Harald of Norway – my godfather – reigns from Oslo. But looking out at the majestic North Sea, it is easy to understand why this was once the home of Norway’s kings. And why it is still the capital of Norway’s aquaculture and fishing industry – as well as a centre for the shipping, oil, and tourism industries.
Indeed, Bergen depends on the sea for its livelihood. But then again, don’t we all?
Ladies and gentlemen. It has been two and a half years since I had the pleasure to participate in the first Keystone Dialogue, in November 2016. In the Maldives, you made me very happy by demonstrating your willingness to take on the challenge of ocean stewardship.
Since then, we have met again in May 2017 and September of 2018 for continued dialogue and progress.
I have seen SeaBOS develop and mature, with increasing abilities and confidence to act. Increasing global recognition of SeaBOS is mirrored by growing expectations on all of you.
It has been two and a half most interesting and rewarding years. Old challenges, like ensuring transparency and eliminating illegal fishing or human rights abuses remain relevant. And new challenges, like antibiotics, or plastic pollution, are mobilizing an increasing general awareness of the issues at stake.
And I have also, with great pride, spoken to diverse audiences about SeaBOS and its progress, since I very much believe in your efforts.
I am particularly pleased that the keystone actor model, that SeaBOS has so successfully established, is attracting interest in itself. Even from leading actors like the United Nations Global Compact Initiative.
Ladies and gentlemen. The keystone actor model is breaking new ground. And the global seafood industry now has a unique opportunity, to become a role model for other sectors that want to make the shift to sustainability.
And there is just one way to achieve this: We need to show leadership by delivering on the promises we have made. This is hard work – and we are only as strong as our weakest link. But it is necessary for proving that the model has merit.
Last week, on a visit to Vietnam, I had the opportunity to meet with some young pupils at a school in Hanoi. As an Advocate Alumni for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals it was especially interesting to hear about their views on the future. Because when I asked them what was most important for them, they all said the same thing: sustainability and taking care of the planet.
In 2030, these adolescents will be young adults. The 2030 Agenda is a promise to them. But it is up to us to start fulfilling that promise – and to do it now.
So, let us make the most of these two days here in Bergen. Let us do everything we can to show the industry and the world that this is the way to make a real difference.
Ladies and gentlemen:
The Ocean needs you.
The world is watching.
It’s time to show results.