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One Ocean Week in Bergen

Sustainable use of the oceans was in focus as His Royal Highness The Crown Prince visited Bergen to take part in One Ocean Week today. 


One Ocean Week – an arena for debate, discussion and events related to sustainable use of the world’s oceans ­– is under way in Bergen. On Monday Crown Prince Haakon attended several conferences and other programmed events highlighting the topic.

Norway and the oceans – the Government’s Ocean Conference

The Crown Prince opened his visit to Bergen by welcoming participants to the Norwegian Government’s Ocean Conference and to the One Ocean Expedition Summit in Håkon’s Hall at Bergenhus Fortress on Monday morning.

“The sea binds us together – to each other, to nature and to ourselves. We come from the sea, but these days it seems we need to be reminded of that. We all depend on the sea. If our oceans are not healthy, our planet is sick. If we are to ensure a sustainable future, we must reduce CO2 emissions, we must take better care of marine ecosystems, and we must curb ocean pollution,” Crown Prince said in his remarks to the conference. 

The Crown Prince greeted participants of the Government’s Ocean Conference and One Ocean Week in Håkon’s Hall in Bergen. Photo: Sara Svanemyr, The Royal Court

The Government’s Ocean Conference is providing a Norwegian context for the work of the global High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. It is showcasing the Government’s overall policy for green efforts to strengthen the oceans, with a focus on various components of Norwegian ocean policy and the follow-up of the ocean panel’s work in Norwegian waters.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy Bjørnar Skjæran, Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide and Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland all attended the conference and took part in panel discussions and other exchanges with Norwegian experts and members of the business community.

The Crown Prince has followed the work of the ocean panel closely in recent years, and has been impressed by the many individuals he has met who have dedicated their professional lives to protecting the oceans, the climate and the natural world.

“These are people who employ knowledge and research to try to create positive change for the world’s oceans – and by extension for all of us,” the Crown Prince said. He went on to mention places he has been where climate change is clearly visible, including the Greenland ice sheet and the Pacific islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

The Crown Prince referred to himself as a realistic optimist:

“The sea is full of possibilities. Healthy oceans can solve many of our global problems. It can play a crucial role in feeding our ever-growing population, provide the world with clean energy, absorb CO2 and produce oxygen. The ocean affects us all in very fundamental ways. It is the basis of life on earth. For our lives, and our children’s lives.”

Governing Mayor Rune Bakervik of Bergen and Vestland County Council Chair Jon Askeland welcomed attendees to the conference. There was a musical performance by Sigrid Moldestad and the Norwegian Naval Forces Band.

Symposium on ocean climate change

In another major event during One Ocean Week, climate scientists from around the world have gathered for a symposium titled “Effects of climate change on the world’s ocean”. The symposium, hosted by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research in collaboration with the global organisations ICES, PICES, UNESCO and FAO, is expected to draw more than 600 experts from nearly 70 countries. They will be discussing how climate change affects and changes the ocean ecosystem as well as what is at stake and what measures will be needed going forward.

The Crown Prince was welcomed to the symposium by Gunnar Kvamstø, CEO of the Institute of Marine Research, who later introduced the Crown Prince at the podium.

“More than ever, we need meeting places like this – where science meets politics, business, public administration, and culture,” the Crown Prince told participants in the opening session.

Crown Prince Haakon’s full remarks.

Bergen Mayor Linn Kristin Engø also spoke from the stage, followed by keynote speeches by oceanographer Randi Ingvaldsen of the Institute of Marine Research and Christian Clauwers, a Belgian photographer and adventurer.

The Crown Prince and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre aboard the sailing ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court

On board the three-masted sailing vessel Statsraad Lehmkuhl, which returned to Bergen on 15 April after 20 months at sea, the Crown Prince attended a lunch and talked with a variety of guests, including the biologist Sylvia Earle and Espen Barth Eide, the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment.

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl arrived in Bergen after completing its One Ocean Expedition, a 20-month circumnavigation of the globe with the primary aim of raising awareness about the ocean’s crucial role in worldwide sustainable development. The expedition is part of the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Mission on the fjord

The Crown Prince concluded his day in Bergen with a short scientific voyage on the local fjord, Byfjorden, aboard the research vessel Prinsesse Ingrid Alexandra. The Crown Prince was welcomed onto the ship, which belongs to the Institute of Marine Research, by Captain Rune Kleppe and researcher Bjørn Einar Grøsvik.

Microplastics and the overall burden on marine ecosystems were among the topics discussed during the fjord trip. The scientists and crew of the vessel gave a demonstration of the surveys and other field work they carry out.

The Crown Prince observes how the Institute of Marine Research is working to address the challenges of microplastics in the sea. Photo: Tuva Åserud / NTB

One Ocean Week

One Ocean Week is a collaboration between Ocean City Bergen and its partners with support from Bergen municipality and Vestland County.

The diverse organisations that make up Ocean City Bergen are focused on sustainable economic activity linked to the sea. Their pioneering initiative, with Bergen as the driving force, is designed to promote coordination, attractiveness, sustainable growth and expertise in marine industries. By organising conferences, meetings, activities and cultural events, the participants in Ocean City Bergen will focus attention on creating the ocean we need for the future we want.

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