On 22 April 2021, Brazil became the 35th state to support the Copenhagen Declaration. The special occasion was celebrated with a widely attended digital signing ceremony that was arranged by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Seafood and UNDP.
The special event included high level remarks by:
- H.E. Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Seafood
- H.E. Jorge Seif Junior, Brazilian Aquaculture and Fisheries Secretary
- H.E. Jens Frølich Holte, State Secretary and Ocean Panel Sherpa for Norway
The Ministers’ Declaration on Transnational Organised Crime in the Global Fishing Industry – or the Copenhagen Declaration – was first initiated by the Norwegian government in 2018. It is currently being operationalized through various capacity building initiatives under the Norwegian Blue Justice Initiative.
With Brazil’s accession, the Declaration has a total of 35 signatories around the world – making it a powerful instrument to gather momentum in the fight against organized fisheries crime globally. It also marks the increased focus on fisheries crime in the Latin American region in particular, where signatories now include a total of 9 countries: Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay.
“Brazil is a large and significant ocean nation with the 10th largest economic zone in the world. It is therefore a very great pleasure that the country is now joining the Declaration,”Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.
Transnational crimes in the fisheries sector, including human trafficking, corruption, large-scale illegal fishing and tax crime, contribute to food insecurity, human rights violations, and loss of state revenue. Digital technology is now offering new opportunities to collaborate effectively across state-borders to tackle these issues.
UNDP is supporting Norway through the management of the Blue Justice Community, a unique digital system to facilitate secure global interaction to combat organized crime in the fisheries sector. The platform was used during the signing ceremony for Brazil and offered the public a first glimpse into the many functions of the Blue Justice Community.
“We are delighted to join the Copenhagen Declaration. We look forward to working with governments across the world in using the digital Bule Justice Community technology to jointly fight fisheries crime”Jorge Seif Junior, Brazilian Secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries.
The Brazilian Secretary was not alone in underscoring the importance of technology and its value in the fight against organized fisheries crime. In a statement prior to the event, Camilla Brückner, Director of UNDP’s Nordic Representation Office, comments:
“UNDP, through its Blue Resilience project, is pleased to be part of the Norwegian digital platform that harnesses technology to support governments to cooperatively fight fisheries crime. This will ensure progress towards a sustainable Blue Economy and meeting the UN sustainable development goals.”Camilla Brückner, Director of UNDP’s Nordic Representation Office
New and innovative digital solutions such as the Blue Justice Community offer countries a unique opportunity to join forces in addressing fisheries crime and its related social, economic, and environmental challenges. The platform is thus an example of Norway’s increased focus on digital solutions in their development policy.
“We must explore all avenues to ensure that developing countries also get a share of the opportunities offered by innovation and digitalization, which gives the countries the opportunity to skip development stages. We know that fishing crime has a negative impact on food security and the livelihoods of vulnerable coastal populations. Therefore, this digital platform is an important tool”Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein in a statement prior to the event.
The special event successfully brought together close to a 100 experts, researchers and government representatives from around the world. Invited panelists included:
- H.E. Nils Martin Gunneng, Norwegian Ambassador to Brazil
- H.E. Paulo Roberto Ribeiro Guimarães, Brazilian Interim Representative, Chargé d’Affaires and Permanent Advisor to the Brazilian Embassy in Norway
- Dr. Emma Witbooi, Blue Resilience Project Manager, UNDP’s Nordic Office
The event was moderated by Gunnar Stølsvik, Specialist Director at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and Marit Svälas, Blue Justice Community Portal Manager at UNDP’s Nordic Office. A recording of the event will be made available here shortly.