Expo 2012: Speech during dinner
Ladies and gentlemen,
How are you?
The first time I visited the Republic of Korea was an official visit together with the Crown Princess in 2007. The country made a strong and lasting impression on both of us. I am very happy to be here again, and I would like to thank our Korean hosts for their hospitality. I have had a very inspiring and interesting day here at the International EXPO in Yeosu.
I hope you have had the opportunity to visit our pavilion, and that you enjoyed what you saw. A month ago, I visited one of the places presented in our pavilion – the Lofoten archipelago in the north of Norway. For more than 1000 years this beautiful archipelago has been the centre of important cod fisheries, especially in winter, when the cod migrate south from the Barents Sea. If this is to continue for another 1000 years, we must manage the natural environment and the marine resources in a sustainable manner.
As our meny tonight is based on wide variety of Norwegian seafood, I take this opportunity to underline that sustainability is of vital importance in the seafood sector globally, and this responsibility is shared by all coastal states. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a major problem globally, and constitutes a serious threat to fish stocks and marine ecosystems. Our common challenge is to enable our oceans on a long-term basis to provide as much seafood as possible. The world’s population recently reached 7 billion. By 2050, it is expected to increase to 9 billion. All these people will need food. Every day. This is a tremendous challenge.
The theme of this year’s EXPO “The Living Ocean and Coast – Diversity of Resources and Sustainable Activities” is highly relevant for both Korea’s and Norway’s geography, political focus and industry. Furthermore, EXPO provides a promising basis for fruitful cooperation between our two countries, which are seeking to build a viable, productive and sustainable seafood industry globally.
The bond between our countries has grown stronger in pace with the Republic of Korea’s astonishing development. We still have much to gain from strengthening old and developing new partnerships, and I am confident that we will do so. With that I would like to ask you all to join me in a toast to the continued prosperity of our two nations.