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Large Ocean Nations Forum on Blue Growth

Høgni Hoydal, Minister of Fisheries of the Faroe Islands, hosted the first Large Ocean Nations Forum on Blue Growth on 02-04 October 2017. The concluding high-level roundtable included ministers and senior representatives from Cape Verde, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Seychelles, as well as from the European Commission.

Island nations control vast ocean areas. They share a responsibility for and a commitment to the health of our oceans and are fundamental actors in the global ocean agenda. Ocean areas and marine resources also provide great opportunities for sustainable growth.

The Forum discussed cooperation between these nations in a global perspective, based on the firm belief in stronger bonds between Large Ocean Nations from the global North and South. Discussions focused on high value creation and  value chains in areas  such as under-utilised marine resources, small-scale high-value seafood production for export, fashion products made from marine materials, health and other industrial applications of ocean products, and research cooperation and capacity.

Recruiting women and youth is essential
The high-level roundtable participants presented their national and organisational work on Blue Growth as well as perspectives on the conclusions of the Forum. It was emphasised that the many challenges and opportunities shared by Large Ocean Nations provide a solid foundation for even stronger cooperation between these nations in a global perspective. Thorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture underlined at the roundtable, “Recruiting women and youth into all aspects of the seafood industry is essential for realizing the full potential of blue growth in the sustainable development of ocean nations.”

High-level participants also underlined the enhanced focus on ocean governance and sustainability internationally. José Filomeno Monteiro, Ambassador of Cape Verde to the EU, said that “No ocean related forums, regulations or operations should be legitimate without the participation of Large Ocean Nations. Large Ocean Nations must speak with one voice.”

Making Blue Growth cool
Participants  expressed their support for  the Forum’s overall recommendations, including to build effective collaboration and partnerships, to create institutions that nurture Blue Growth, and to engage society and consumers, making Blue Growth cool.

“The Faroe Islands are committed to working towards further meetings of Large Ocean Nations in the future”, said Høgni Hoydal. He concluded the roundtable by announcing that the Faroe Islands intends to host a side-event at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations’ Committee of Fisheries meeting in 2018 to follow up on the Forum.

The participants in the Large Ocean Nations Forum on Blue Growth in Malta, were Cape Verde, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Grenada, Iceland, Malta, Mauritius, Norway, Papua New Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Vanuatu and the European Union. The Forum was organised by the Government of the Faroe Islands, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Atlantic Cooperation, in close cooperation with FAO and Commonwealth.

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