(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Honoured members of SeaBOS.
Let me start by saying how glad I am to see all of you in this virtual meeting.
After more than a year of this terrible pandemic, I think we are all longing for things to be a little more like they used to.
And yet, I think we know in our hearts that things won’t be the same, because we aren’t the same any more.
Those of us who make it through will always remember the pandemic:
How it made us reconsider some of our choices and priorities.
How it opened our eyes to our own vulnerability.
And how it made us see that in our connected world, even a small “bug” can threaten our very existence and way of life.
But what the pandemic has also showed us, is the power of cooperation and science.
Ladies and gentlemen. Two weeks ago, I participated in the virtual Nobel Prize Summit “Our Planet – Our Future”. A meeting that was collaboratively arranged by the Nobel foundation, the US Academy of Sciences, and several scientists that you know and have worked with for years.
Among the speakers were Nobel Laureates, political leaders and leading scientists, among them “our own” professor Carl Folke. Listening to them made me even more convinced of the urgency of the challenges we are up against, the importance of science and the need to accelerate change.
A consistent message throughout the meeting was that we need more collaboration between disciplines and more cooperation between science and industry.
Business needs to work with science and to lead the necessary change.
This message came from Nobel Laureates and from political leaders. And the statement coming out from the Nobel symposium is now signed by 102 laureates.
You, members of SeaBOS, you know this already. You are on the right track and have been so for some time now.
In fact, your initiative was even mentioned by the climate advisor to president Biden, honorable Jane Lubchenco, who I think most of you have met.
So thank you, members of SeaBOS, for setting an example for others to follow.
I have understood that you are making substantial progress, working hard to reach your bold goals from last December.
Keeping up the pace, despite this stubborn pandemic.
Meeting more than ever.
And becoming braver in sharing data.
I have also learnt that tangible results are starting to show after years of SeaBOS work. This makes me very happy. Great work!
And now, I will ask you to work even harder. Because there are still so many problems that need to be solved: illegal fishing, labour abuse, endangered species, antibiotics, plastics, carbon emissions and more.
We need promises, but more than anything, we need concrete results.
I know I am asking you for a lot. And I appreciate how much that is being required from you.
But remember, you are not alone. You have the same scientists on your team that recently helped mobilize Nobel Laureates and political leaders. You are in good company.
These scientists help you stay ahead, and with this head start, you will be able to deliver the results that the world needs.
Ladies and gentlemen: I wish you the best of luck with this meeting and I look forward to following your work!