(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Oxygen. Drinking water. Healthy food.
Energy. Medicines. Jobs.
The list goes on, of all the things the oceans give us – for free.
So, what do we give back?
Well… I am afraid that list is also quite long:
Estrogen. Antibiotics. Tranquilizers.
Sewage. Fertilizers. Toxic chemicals.
And, of course: plastics!
Every year, somewhere between 5 and 13 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean. As a consequence, around 700 marine species are threatened by plastics. By 2050, the oceans could contain more plastic than fish.
Ladies and gentlemen: if we want to take for granted all that the oceans give us, we need to grant the oceans something in return. We need to stop treating them as waste bins.
Let there be no doubt: the challenges are enormous. But let us also recognize that we have started to take them on. Governments, the civil society and the private sector are finally coming together to save the world's oceans.
The Global Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were adopted by world leaders in 2015 and are now being implemented.
Last year, Sweden and Fiji jointly organized a United Nations conference to support efforts to achieve Goal 14 on oceans, seas and marine resources.
And just a few days ago, the Global Compact Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business was launched, gathering key actors from all over the world. I look forward to following the progress of this platform and I would like to commend my neighbour country Norway for taking on a leading role in it.
The corporate sector is often accused of defending the status quo. But there are a growing number of examples proving the opposite: that business, teaming up with science, can be a powerful driver of change.
I would also like to say a few words about one such example: the SeaBOS initiative, of which I am a proud supporter.
SeaBOS, or The Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship, currently involves ten of the seafood industry's keystone actors. These ten transnational corporations dominate the global seafood industry. They are fierce competitors! But in this initiative, they are working together, leading a global transformation towards sustainable seafood production and a healthy ocean.
Many have contributed to SeaBOS. But today, I would like to take the opportunity to thank one of them: Mister Knut Nesse of Nutreco. Dear Knut – thank you for all your efforts and for your never failing commitment to the SeaBOS initiative. Also, thank you for inviting me to this conference!
Representatives of the aquaculture industry: your business is and will be crucial in feeding the world's growing population. In other words: We need you! And to ensure a healthy future for all, we need healthy oceans. Therefore, I am glad to see you taking action for a sustainable seafood industry; finding new solutions that are both innovative and commercially viable.
By doing so you are leading the way for others - within your industry and outside.
Ladies and gentlemen. In the fight against poverty, inequality and climate change, the Global goals are a powerful tool to inspire change. But let's not forget: goals in themselves do not change the world. People do. You do!