Nordic ministers call for marine conservation and higher climate ambitions

12.05.21 | News
Seaweed and the surface of the ocean with the sun shining down
Silas Baisch -
At a time of rising global temperatures, the work of conserving and restoring marine ecosystems is more important than ever. This was one of the messages to emerge from today’s meeting of the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment and Climate. The statement was made as part of the process of drawing up a joint declaration by the environment and climate ministers of the member states ahead of COP15 in Kunming, China, in October.

Today’s meeting of the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment and Climate (MR-MK) looked ahead to this year’s major summits on biodiversity and the climate. The ministers were presented with the results of “Involving young people in drawing up a new UN biodiversity agreement”, a project run under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council. A “Position Paper” by a group of Nordic young people was presented to the ministers at today’s meeting. It contains their demands to the UN and the Nordic governments.

Joint declaration on marine ecosystems

The ministers also signed an ambitious declaration as part of the run-up to COP15 in China in October. In it, they seek to underscore the importance of having the requisite knowledge in order to conserve and restore marine ecosystems at a time og global warming – ecosystems whose job it is to protect the biodiversity of the sea and the blue forests that play such an important role in combating climate change.

The ministers also discussed the economic aspects of work on biodiversity. The global financial systems have a potentially crucial role to play in steering investments in a direction that has a positive impact on biodiversity.

The UN Biodiversity Summit, COP15, in October provides an crucial opportunity to influence the state of the natural world. We take the messages from Nordic young people very seriously. It is our responsibility to reverse the decline in biodiversity, and it is possible as long as we work together. The financial sector is a significant factor, as we discussed today. Nature is not an isolated part of the economy. On the contrary, the right investments can affect the overall state of the natural world.

Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland

The meeting also discussed the status of preparations for COP26. The investments made all over the world in response to the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic provide an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for green recovery. In the eyes of the ministers, COP26 will be a crucial opportunity for the world to manifest our shared commitment to an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement via updated national targets.

The Nordic countries can and must lead the way on climate change. At this critical point in time, it is essential that we work together to raise the level of our ambitions before the COP26 climate summit and do our best to make it a success. It is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5°, but the situation is urgent, and we need to act now.

Per Bolund, Minister for Environment and Climate, Sweden

The Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment and Climate also noted that international co-operation has continued despite the ongoing pandemic. For example, progress has facilitated a start to negotiations on a global agreement on reducing plastic waste in the sea.