“Our commitment to co-operation on climate and environmental issues extends far beyond our own borders”
27th of November 2023
“The Nordic countries can accelerate implementation and raise the level of ambition in international processes by working together. Our commitment to co-operation on climate and environmental issues extends far beyond our own borders,” says Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate, after today’s meeting.
For several years, the Nordic countries have worked to strengthen global commitments to reduce plastic pollution, both through Nordic co-operation and most recently as members of the high-ambition coalition to stop plastic pollution, which is led by Norway and Rwanda.
“Plastic pollution is everywhere. Without new and effective control measures, plastic pollution will almost double over the next 20 years. The Nordic Region stands united for a high level of ambition in the negotiations on a global agreement on plastics. We need to reduce the production and consumption of plastic, ensure a safe, circular transition, and put an end to plastic pollution by 2040 in order to protect the environment and human health,” says Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Andreas Bjelland Eriksen.
To promote broad support for a global agreement, the ministers today signed the declaration: “Nordic Ministerial Declaration on the Call for a High Level of Ambition in the Negotiations of the Global Agreement on Plastic Pollution”.
The Nordic countries can accelerate implementation and raise the level of ambition in international processes by working together. Our commitment to co-operation on climate and environmental issues extends far beyond our own borders.
Climate adaptation and concerns for the ocean
The joint Nordic work for climate adaptation and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea were also high on the agenda. Against the backdrop of the past summer’s extreme weather events, the ministers discussed climate adaptation and how the Nordic countries can work together to improve preparedness and strengthen the resilience of the region.
“The task of being well prepared for possible natural disasters is a perpetual one, as well as a matter of national security. Recently, we’ve experienced significant changes in the climate all over the world, and especially here in northern regions. This calls for us to put the consequences of climate change higher on the agenda in the Nordic Region. We must place greater emphasis on climate adaptation, and there are great opportunities within Nordic co-operation,” says Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate.
The ministers also discussed how the Nordic countries can speed up the ratification ofBiodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, (BBNJ) under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The agreements contain important provisions on environmental protection of the open sea, and in particular on how we can achieve the goal of protecting 30 percent of marine areas by 2030.
“I’m pleased that the UN Agreement on the Protection and Sustainable Use of the World’s Oceans is now at an ambitious point, which makes it possible to designate protected areas in the vast majority of the world’s oceans. We’re taking joint responsibility for the open seas, and this is necessary because we’re deeply dependent on the well-being of the world’s oceans. That’s why we in the Nordic Region will press for more countries to quickly join the agreement,” says Denmark’s Minister of Environment Magnus Heunicke.
High ambitions for COP28
The ministers discussed the joint efforts of the Nordic countries to ensure a high level of ambition and a successful outcome of the upcoming climate negotiations.
The joint Nordic Pavilion at COP28 underpins this ambition by showing that high ambitions in terms of reduction efforts, adaptation, and a just green transition can be achieved. The discussions in the pavilion will show how the green transition not only means sacrifices, but how it can also lead to better lives for more people.
Results from the following reports were presented at the meeting:
- Towards Ending Plastic Pollution
This report contains a “scenario with global rules” for 2040 and proposes 15 possible measures that effectively reduce plastic pollution, including a reduction of plastic pollution by up to 90%. The report is part of the project “Nordic support for the negotiations on a new global agreement on plastic pollution 2023–2024”. (LINK) Read the report here:
- Nordic Stocktake and Visions
This project shows how far the Nordic countries have come on the journey towards climate-neutral societies and presents a vision of what a climate-neutral society could look like. Find links to the project’s three reports below.
- Comparison and analysis of national climate change adaptation policies in the Nordic Region
An analysis of the adaptation policy landscape in the Nordic countries. The project identifies key factors for making progress in national adaptation efforts.
- Older people and the climate – benefits for both
The project maps the work of older people in the Nordic countries on climate issues and suggests ways to strengthen co-operation. The results of the project haven’t yet been published.