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Nordic Ministerial Declaration on Oceans and Climate

30.10.19 | Deklaration
Nordic Ministerial Declaration on Oceans and Climate – for adoption at the Nordic Ministerial Meeting in Stockholm, 30 October



The ocean plays a key role in regulating the climate and in slowing global warming, through absorption of excess heat and carbon dioxide. Climate change and ocean acidification are fundamentally affecting the oceans, with Arctic and subarctic areas particularly at risk. It is likely that the Nordic sea areas will be increasingly affected by climate change and acidification in the near future.

All the world's oceans are connected. This interconnectivity implies that effective responses to ongoing changes require intensified regional cooperation, as well as more coordinated monitoring and forecasting of changes in the oceans.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (Sept. 2019) has called for responses from states and other ocean stakeholders.

We, the Nordic Ministers of Environment and Climate:

Welcome the UN IPCC Special Report and note with deep concern the far-reaching implications of unabated climate change and ocean acidification for marine and coastal ecosystems, coastal communities, and the ocean economy.

Highlight the need for collaboration on urgent and ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, coupled with coordinated, sustained and increasingly ambitious adaptive actions, to ensure that oceans and marine ecosystems are climate-resilient and sustainably managed. 

Emphasise the need to implement and work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals relevant for the ocean, and the importance of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) for ensuring that ocean science will support sustainable development of the ocean.

Persist in our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality and pursue Nordic climate diplomacy in international forums to deliver solutions that impact global emissions.

Call on national states to immediately raise the level of ambition for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goal of the Paris Agreement[1], pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Emphasise the need to decarbonise ocean industries, promote ocean-based renewable energy, and protect marine ecosystems as carbon sinks.

Note the possibilities for export and safe storage of carbon dioxide below the seabed.

Underline that climate change is exacerbating the impacts from other human pressures on oceans and coasts, including eutrophication, chemical and plastic pollution, overfishing, and loss and degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems.

Recognise that, in many cases, reducing these pressures to strengthen the resilience of marine ecosystems is the only option for climate change adaptation.

Emphasise that protection, restoration, and ecosystem-based management are key measures for strengthening the resilience of marine ecosystems.

Note that organisations and forums such as OSPAR, HELCOM and the Arctic Council are already carrying out important work to decrease human pressures, protect the marine environment and increase resilience of the marine ecosystems, and that Nordic cooperation should continue to support this work.

Intend to lead by example in practising knowledge-based management of ocean activities under changing climate conditions.

Decide to extend Nordic marine cooperation to complement existing work on the marine environment being done by organisations and forums such as OSPAR, HELCOM and Arctic Council, to:

  • Increase our knowledge of how the Nordic sea areas are being, and will be, affected by climate change and ocean acidification, and recognise the effects this has on people dependent on the sea, including indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Explore the potential for greater coordination in our marine monitoring efforts by 2024, assess the future consequences of climate change and acidification in Nordic sea areas, and use this knowledge to strengthen Nordic cooperation on adaptation to changes in the oceans.
  • Increase the resilience of Nordic sea areas to climate change, through ecosystem-based management of human activities impacting the seas, and by supporting the development of ecologically coherent and well managed networks of marine protected areas and other area-based management measures.
  • Encourage and strengthen scientific research that will enable us to identify and maintain natural ocean carbon sinks in Nordic sea areas.
  • Support the ocean economy through conservation and sustainable use of marine resources.
  • Increase our understanding of how climate policy and development towards carbon neutrality will affect the ocean economy of the Nordic countries. 
  • Ensure easy and timely public access to relevant scientific information on oceans and climate, in an appropriate format.
  • Identify new opportunities for Nordic cooperation in the nexus between ocean and climate, and identify how Nordic experiences or joint initiatives could contribute to work on ocean and climate in relevant processes at the global level.


Stockholm, October 30, 2019


Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson,

Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources


Lea Wermelin,

Minister for the Environment


Krista Mikkonen,

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change


Ola Elvestuen,

Minister of Climate and Environment


Isabella Lövin,

Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister


Camilla Gunell,

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Business and the Environment


Kim Kielsen,

Premier of Greenland


Helgi Abrahamsen,

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade



[1] The Kingdom of Denmark, on behalf of Greenland, made a territorial reservation on the Paris Agreement.