P4G Seoul Summit Green Future Sessions: Oceans

P4G – Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030. Virtual event held on 26 May 2021 in Seoul, Korea.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Thank you for inviting me to address this important session, which recognizes the vital role of the Oceans. Oceans are a valuable resource that among others absorb carbon dioxide and buffer the impacts of climate change - however, oceans are severely impacted by carbon emissions from human activities.

Yet oceans are home to hundreds of thousands of species and essential for lives and livelihoods, including seafarers and fishers, who work on and depend on the oceans.

That is why we, at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have been working with Governments and the maritime industry to ensure a sustainable blue economy by promoting ocean governance and enhancing the cooperation and collaboration of all maritime stakeholders.

Throughout the pandemic, the world has been made aware of our dependence on shipping, seafarers and marine personnel. Shipping has continued to deliver goods in keeping the world trade going – while many thousands of seafarers have become stranded at sea, working long beyond their contracted time.

I thank the Governments who have designated Seafarers as 'key workers' with an aim to help facilitate seafarers' safe movement across borders and ensure they can continue to work safely and welcome the efforts of all, including shipping industry partners, who have been working tirelessly to advocate for seafarers.  

Following the immense socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the shipping industry, it is time to pave the way for a re-imagined future of the industry. We have an opportunity to drive a green recovery and ensure a sustainable maritime future.

One major contribution to this green and sustainable maritime future will be the Digitalization of shipping, which is progressing rapidly. Exchange of information between ships and ports over digital platforms is mandatory under IMO's Facilitation Convention. These efficient arrangements already ensured that shipping was able to continue to deliver world trade even in the midst of the pandemic.

Digitalization is a solution – but the challenge is to ensure it is fully implemented across all nations and all ports.

The wider endorsement of the maritime single window concept for example is needed to strengthen efficiencies by allowing submission of all information required by various government agencies through one single portal, streamlining port activities to benefit the supply chain. Another example is IMO's strategy for implementation of e-navigation - the harmonization and standardization of digital technologies and user interfaces will support safer and more environment friendly shipping.

The benefits of Digitalization and Automation need to be harnessed to full advantage – while ensuring user needs are taken into account.

When it comes to tackling Climate Change, shipping is on a course to decarbonize. IMO Member States, in 2018, adopted the initial GHG strategy with a clear goal to phase out GHG emissions from shipping.

This June, IMO is expected to adopt important short-term measures to cut carbon intensity of all ships. The adoption of mandatory measures is supported by a comprehensive impact assessment of the measures on States, paying particular attention to the needs of developing countries.

IMO has produced and will continue to adopt concrete measures to move shipping on the path to Decarbonization. These measures are based on in-depth technical discussions. We will revise IMO's initial GHG strategy in 2023 in the light of experience gained.

The need to decarbonize will impact on ship design, ship operation and future fuels. There needs to be investment in R&D, and infrastructure. IMO is collaborating with a range of partners to further promote and accelerate research and development into low- and zero-carbon marine fuels. This includes many stakeholders, from public and private sectors, not only in the shipping and port industry, but also private and development banks, and academia. 

The way forward is complex, but by working together with determination we will ensure that shipping will make a key contribution in the fight against climate change.  Collaborative actions are key to making sure no country is left behind when it comes to shipping's decarbonized future.

The support of our donors is critical. We have several ongoing partnership initiatives with key stakeholders including i.e. UN partner agencies, the World Bank, the European Union, Norway, Germany, Singapore and the Republic of Korea.

All our initiatives have one common goal – to strengthen partnerships, build capacity and accelerate innovation and technology uptake, and to address the challenges faced by developing countries, in particular, Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. 

We all have a part to play to push innovative thinking to develop and implement solutions for climate change and for the health of our oceans. To keep pace with the demands of the global economy and the expectations for sustainable growth, -- the maritime world needs to be in the forefront of transformational change. 

Meeting our goals will require cooperation and collaboration of all maritime stakeholder to develop innovative solutions for the green and sustainable maritime sector of the future.

I look forward to fruitful discussions in this session.

Thank you.