In his opening remarks, the Director General welcomed and congratulated Ambassador Mollestad on her appointment and noted the “non-ostentatious diplomatic presence that Norway has maintained in the region.”
“We are particularly pleased to have reached this stage in our relations with the Kingdom of Norway.
"We welcome this opportunity to establish a deep and meaningful partnership and, through initial discussions this morning, we have already begun to explore the kind of synergies we can create and economies of scale that can benefit OECS Member States,” H.E. Dr. Jules added.
H.E Ingrid Mollestad expressed Norway's keen interest to develop a stronger relationship with the OECS and highlighted the similarities that the nordic country shares with the islands of the Eastern Caribbean.
“Norway’s foreign and development policy goals are, to a large extent, aligned with those of small island states and the OECS.
“Even though we are miles apart, there are shared interests and common goals and values of great importance.
“Everything is relative, but we are also a small nation with a huge sea territory. The big ocean state concept is something that you would recognise in this region. For us, the importance of the blue economy is much more than on the conceptual level.
“We have long standing cooperation on climate issues leading up to the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the Paris Agreement, and we do realise the particular challenges that are faced by small island developing states.
“You pay the highest price for climate change even though you are not the biggest contributors and this is something that Norway has realised and it is also the reason why, for example, we have chosen to support the work of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in New York,” H.E. Ingrid Mollestad said.
Ambassador Mollestad also outlined several avenues of cooperation that Norway is keen to explore with the OECS especially in the areas of marine management, biodiversity preservation, the effects of climate change and the elimination of marine litter.
“Norway recently launched a programme to combat marine litter and micro plastics in the ocean and I am very pleased that the first concrete project that we are now entering into with the OECS is a programme of $3 million dollars over 3 years to begin working on this very important topic for us all.”
Both parties agreed to work as expeditiously as possible in pursuit of common objectives and deepening relations.
Distinguished guests included the Ambassadors of France, Mexico and Cuba; Commission staff and regional representatives from partner organisations.