Ocean-based climate solutions in action – from offshore renewable energy to a clean, resilient maritime sector: Side Event - UN Ocean Conference 2022

UN Ocean Conference SIDE-EVENT


Organized by UN Global Compact and United Nations Foundation, Germany, Kenya, Panama, Singapore, United States, High Level Climate Champions, Getting to Zero Coalition (GMF), Aspen Institute, Ocean Conservancy

Monday 27 June 2022, Lisbon, Portugal


 (Watch the video here).

Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me first of all to thank the organizers for this very timely event. I am especially pleased to see this particular topic so visible during the Conference and taking centre stage at the start of the first day.

We are gathering here in Lisbon this week to take stock of our common efforts to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14, 'Life below water'. Its aim is to "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development" and on how we can scale up ocean action, based on science and innovation.

Shipping is indispensable to global trade, sustainable development, and the world's energy transition. It is also a major user of the 'oceans, seas and marine resources' that this event is focusing on.

Shipping contributes less than 3% of annual global CO2 emissions.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), as the global standard setting body for shipping, has considered the control of GHG emission since the late 1990s and the first mandatory energy efficiency measures for ships were adopted in 2011.

Since then, in recognizing the global imperative to do more, IMO has promoted a global approach to further enhance ships' energy efficiency and develop measures to reduce GHG emissions from ships

Ladies and gentlemen,

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly highlights that ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP 26 in November last year underscored the need for accelerated climate action in this critical decade.

The Pact also recognized the need to take into consideration the concerns of economies most affected by the impacts of response measures, particularly developing countries.

IMO Member States have agreed to initiate the revision of the Initial GHG Strategy and to strengthen its ambition, demonstrating the Organization's commitment to providing a global regulatory framework that provides certainty, a level-playing-field and ensures that no-one is left behind.

For IMO, as part of the UN-family, this is of crucial importance. Solidarity and addressing the climate emergency through a collaborative approach is required.

IMO will continue to play its role in the global agenda towards decarbonization and protection of the environment. This includes the promotion of alternative low- and zero-carbon fuels; and ensuring no one is left behind in a "just and equitable transition".

At IMO, the strengthened revised GHG strategy is set to be adopted in 2023 but further essential work must be completed to set the path for the decarbonization of the shipping industry, in line with the objectives of both the 2015 Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact adopted at COP 26. 

Just a few weeks ago, IMO Member States meeting at the Marine Environment Protection Committee reiterated IMO's commitment to deliver a just and fair transition of international shipping from fossil fuels to low and zero carbon alternative fuels. The discussions were encouraging and are going in the right direction.

Meanwhile, there are increasing numbers of R&D initiatives worldwide on low- and zero-carbon alternative fuels for shipping, and examples of technological innovation.

IMO is working with many countries through its global projects to showcase innovation, link decarbonization projects together, and promote trials and pilots, which will feed into the revision of the IMO GHG Strategy.

The just and equitable transition in Maritime's decarbonization means providing job opportunities and skills development to seafarers, port workers and shipping industries in developing countries.

This transition is challenging – but it can enable the sector to reconnect with young generations in all regions of the world, many of whose future careers will feature renewable energy generation and energy efficiency technology.

As the shipping industry makes this transition it will create opportunities for many developing countries, which are already exploring renewable fuel production that can serve to accelerate their transition to low-carbon economies.

All stakeholders must work together to sustain the momentum of decarbonization in shipping and work together for a greener future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The maritime sector connects us all. A greener, resilient maritime sector is essential for the needs of future generations because it underpins all sustainable development.

We need to scale up our efforts; we need R&D collaboration; we need information sharing, and capacity-building. All of these will be key as shipping navigates its path to decarbonization and making its own contribution towards conserving and sustainably using marine resources for sustainable development.

In line with this, we will also to work to assess impacts on countries, in particular, on Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.

Finally, let me conclude by highlighting that this year's World Maritime theme is 'New technologies for greener shipping', which reflects the need to support a green transition of the maritime sector into a sustainable future, while leaving no one behind.

Thank you.