Together for a sustainable and greener future

May 17, 2022 - 07:18

Another Norwegian Constitution Day has come. I am very happy but also emotional to share my last address on this day as Norwegian Ambassador to Việt Nam. 

Norwegian Ambassador Grete Lochen writes to Việt Nam News on Norwegian Constitution Day, celebrated on May 17.

Another Norwegian Constitution Day has come. I am very happy but also emotional to share my last address on this day as Norwegian Ambassador to Việt Nam. 

Norwegians celebrate May 17 as our National Day. On this day in 1814, Norway’s first constitution was signed. The Norwegian constitution is the second oldest in the world still in use. 208 years have passed but the core values of sovereignty of the people, separation of powers and individual rights enshrined in our Constitution remain because they form the backbone of Norway today.

Openness, free exchange of opinions, inclusive decision-making processes and effective rule of law are the cornerstones of a modern, dynamic society. Therefore, the Norwegian society understands that we must continue to protect these values actively at home and through our international work. This is more important than ever in a world of increasing geopolitical tension and conflict. Respect for a rule-based international order with a strong UN at its core is the best protection for small nations like Norway.

Ambassador Grete Løchen (with pink scarf) introducing to Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành the Norwegian profile on renewable energy particularly offshore wind at the International Conference in Hà Nội on May 13. — Photo courtesy of the embassy

These key values are also taken further through the cooperative efforts with our bilateral partners including Việt Nam and in multilateral fora like the United Nations.

Our Constitution Day is a celebration of our future as a nation with children’s parades in every corner of the country. There are no displays of military power, no political speeches. Since the pandemic, this is the first year that children all over Norway will be able to parade again with marching bands and waving our national flag. In Oslo, they will be greeted by the whole Royal Family.

Four days ago, the “International Conference on Sustainable Ocean Economy and Climate Change Adaptation” co-chaired by Norway and Việt Nam with the great support of UNDP Việt Nam was successfully concluded. After a two-year delay, strong teamwork and tireless efforts have made a dream come true. This is another evidence of our close partnership and shared priorities as two coastal nations.

One key outcome of the Conference was a Co-Chair Statement: Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Blue Economy, which highlights key contents and conclusions of the Conference, and provides inputs for the United Nations in its 2022 and later agendas, including the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in 2021-2030.

In the pandemic aftermath, we all understand that protecting a clean and productive ocean is more important than ever if we are to be able to build back better and harvest sustainably from the oceans also in the years to come.

To do this, we should join hands in addressing all threats to oceans, among which climate change is a major one. Norway and Việt Nam share the same objective of combating climate change and promoting healthy and productive oceans. We have both announced increased climate commitments. Now we need to focus on implementation and building partnerships that can deliver.

Both Norway and Việt Nam set high ambitions for protecting healthy oceans, progressing green transition processes, and implementing the Paris Agreement. Without global cooperation, we cannot solve common problems. In her recent two-day visit to Việt Nam, State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bjørg Sandkjær highlighted the need for all countries to take concerted and immediate action to deliver on their commitments. This means phasing out coal power, ramping up investment in renewable energy, halting deforestation, speeding up the switch to electric vehicles and reducing methane emissions.

When it comes to the green transition, oceans offer great opportunities for our businesses to cooperate in promoting sustainable marine aquaculture, offshore wind and green shipping.

A key to achieving our climate objectives is to transform the way we produce and use energy. The objectives of the green energy transition are shared across the world. Although our points of departure are different with significant variations in the energy mix, potentials, skills and resources, there exists a solution: cooperation and partnership.

The green energy transition is a painful but unavoidable process. I am very happy to see strong interest from Norwegian energy companies in supporting and contributing to Việt Nam’s efforts towards this goal. Many leading Norwegian energy companies have come to Việt Nam and others will follow. I firmly believe we will strengthen our cooperation in moving the sustainable development agenda forward – not only in the interests of a clean environment but also for our prosperity.

Happy Norwegian Constitution Day! Hipp Hipp Hurra! VNS