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GloFouling Partnerships Project


Cover image for IMO external page-1.jpgThGloFouling Partnerships is a project to address the transfer of harmful aquatic species through biofouling in some of the developing regions of the world.

The introduction of invasive aquatic organisms into new marine environments not only affects biodiversity and ecosystem health, but also has measurable impacts on a number of economic sectors such as fisheries, aquaculture and ocean energy. Addressing invasive aquatic species is not only a matter of ensuring the health and integrity of marine ecosystems, but ultimately about safeguarding ecosystem services that sustain the livelihoods of coastal communities across the globe. 

The GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project, launched in December 2018, is driving actions to implement the IMO 2011 Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species, which provide a globally-consistent approach on how biofouling should be controlled and managed to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species through ships' hulls. The project will also spur the development of best practices and standards for improved biofouling management in other ocean industries.

This initiative is part of the wider efforts by IMO in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to protect marine ecosystems from the negative effects of invasive species. This work began in 2001 under the GloBallast Programme.


Lead Partnering Countries and other partners

Twelve countries, representing a mix of developing nations and Small Island Developing States, will spearhead the work of the GloFouling Project as Lead Partnering Countries (LPCs): Brazil, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Tonga. 

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Geographical distribution of the Lead Partnering Countries in the GloFouling Partnerships Project


The GEF is providing a US$6.98 million grant to deliver a range of governance reforms at the national level through numerous capacity-building activities, training workshops and opportunities for technology adoption to help address the issue of invasive species. In addition to the seed funding provided by GEF, the Project partners are expected to provide co-financing in the region of US$40 million, both cash and in-kind. The Project will run for five years, to the end of 2023. 

Strong participation from private sector stakeholders is also expected, replicating the successful public-private sector partnership model used by IMO in previous projects (such as GloBallast and GloMeep). Based on this GloFouling Partnerships launched its own Global Industry Alliance for Marine Biosafety.

While IMO will focus on shipping, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) has joined the three main partners (GEF, UNDP and IMO) to lead the approach to other marine sectors with a view to developing best practices that may address the transfer of invasive aquatic species through improved biofouling management.  IOC-UNESCO will work hand in hand with GloFouling Partnerships team at IMO to increase awareness of this environmental challenge among key stakeholders. 

The work of GloFouling Partnerships is divided into five major components:

  1. Legal, Policy and Institutional Reforms (LPIR) developed and implemented to minimise the risk of Invasive Aquatic Species (IAS) transferred through biofouling.
  2. Capacity building and technical support for the implementation of the 2011 Biofouling Guidelines and best practices for biofouling management in other ocean industries.
  3. Public-private partnerships to bring active private sector participation at global, regional, national and local levels, to support the development of innovative technological and other solutions and financial sustainability for the control and management of biofouling.
  4. Knowledge management systems and enhanced stakeholder and institutional cooperation for monitoring and evaluation of biofouling management and control measures.
  5. Monitoring and evaluation of project outputs and performance.


2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals

Through their commitment to the outputs to the GloFouling Partnerships Project, the 12 lead partnering countries will make direct contributions to the targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The GloFouling Project will address SDG 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development), SDG 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) and SDG 15 (Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss).

Additionally, GloFouling Partnerships includes targeted initiatives focusing specifically on women, aimed at creating an empowering space for reducing existing disparities in maritime administrations, the scientific community and the private sector (SDG 5); actions to encourage industry innovation and technology adoption (SDG 9); and specific opportunities for South-South, North-South and triangular cooperation both at the public and private sector levels (SDG 17).

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GloFouling Partnerships Project – Expected contribution to SDGs


Biofouling and GHG emissions

By addressing the contribution of biofouling to increased frictional resistance on ship hulls and the resulting increase in fuel consumption, the GloFouling project will catalyse tangible reductions in global GHG emissions.

The solutions catalysed by the GloFouling project (e.g. more effective hull maintenance, reduced fouling rates due to use of advanced hull coatings and timely propeller polishing) have the potential to reduce drag and energy consumption by ships,  contributing to a reduction of GHG emissions of anything between 5 to 23%. Even if a relatively small proportion of these potential emission reductions is achieved, this contribution to reduced GHG emissions by the shipping sector will still represent a significant environmental benefit that could amount to hundreds of millions of US dollars per year. This would complement efforts under the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloMEEP project, which addresses energy efficiency within the shipping sector.


GloFouling Project and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets  

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society, reducing the direct pressures on biodiversity, preserving genetic diversity and promoting sustainable use  of ecosystem services.

Through its Outcome 1.1, the GloFouling Partnerships will contribute to the CBD Strategic Goal B: "Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use", and its associated Aichi Target 9: "By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment".


For more information, consult the project website:

For project matters, contact the Project Coordination Unit, at IMO:

Other related links:

GEF International Waters

UNDP Global Environmental Finance