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IMO and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in environmental project targeting ship-based emissions

04 Oct 2021

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) on Friday (1 October) said it has signed three partnership agreements with Saudi Arabia to support the preparation of a new global project that targets ship-based emissions.

Further funding goes to existing projects focused on biofouling and marine plastic litter. The agreements, signed by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and His Excellency Mr. Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser, Minister of Transport and Logistic Services, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (28 September), will see USD 509,000 going to the three environmental initiatives.

“IMO is committed to a global approach to environmental protection, with capacity building in developing countries to ensure that no Member State is left behind on this important journey. Lowering emissions, reducing marine litter and tackling invasive aquatic species are vital to preserving our oceans. I am very pleased that these agreements will go towards IMO projects to help reduce the impact of shipping on our oceans. They demonstrate our continued commitment to protecting our environment,” said Secretary-General Lim.

“We know that it is technological innovation and the development of alternative future fuels that will be key to progress. But it’s equally important that we ensure that innovations in these areas are inclusive and coordinated as well. No one can do this alone and no one should be left behind. We need both the North and the South to get connected in this innovation ecosystem and we need all stakeholders to be around the innovation table including stakeholders across the value chain,” added His Excellency Mr. Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser.

Emission reduction

Under the first agreement, around USD 400,000 will be used to fund a 12-month preparatory phase of a new long-term IMO CARES (Coordinated Actions to Reduce Emissions from Shipping) initiative. The Project aims to accelerate demonstration of green technologies and their deployment globally in a manner that facilitates blue economic growth in developing regions. The preparatory Project will lead to the design of IMO CARES Programme and will be executed by IMO’s Department of Partnerships and Projects (DPP).

“IMO is committed to long-term technology cooperation and capacity building programmes focussed on needs of developing countries that will support the IMO Initial GHG strategy, the IMO resolution on technology transfer and capacity building as well as the resolution on cooperation between ports and shipping to reduce GHG emissions,” said Mr. Jose Matheickal, DPP Chief.

He said that the IMO CARES Project will build on and complement other ongoing work by IMO and connects this work to various R&D and innovation initiatives around the world. This work includes Green Voyage 2050, GHG-SMART Project, the Blue Solutions Project, the FINSMART initiative and the NextGEN initiative.

The Project will continue IMO efforts to increase cooperation and collaboration between all decarbonisation initiatives. The IMO-Singapore NextGEN online portal for information sharing on decarbonisation projects was launched this week. (Read more here).

The preparatory phase of IMO CARES is designed to identify various key stakeholders who might become part of the long-term IMO CARES programme. Potential stakeholders include donors, regional maritime technology cooperation centres, various decarbonisation R&D centres, Global Industry Alliances, financial institutions, and more.

The foundation Project will undertake regional and global consultation workshops to design the key elements and framework of the global programme. It will maintain a focus on developing countries in order to facilitate a global decarbonisation shift.

Raising awareness of biofouling for women in Arab States

The second agreement sets out USD54,500 in funding for IMO’s ongoing GloFouling initiative, a GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Project to drive actions to implement the IMO Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ biofouling. 

The funding will go towards holding an awareness-raising workshop on ships’ biofouling for women in Arab States. Ships’ biofouling is one of the main sources for introductions of invasive aquatic species and is one of the main threats to marine biodiversity. 

The environmental impacts are often associated with substantial economic costs. Biofouling also results in increased fuel consumption and contributes to GHG emissions from ships.

The workshop will seek to improve awareness and expertise on general aspects of biofouling management to increase participation of women across maritime industries and administrations. Additionally, the workshop will create new opportunities and encourage entrepreneurship, with a specific focus on initiatives sponsored or created by women. 

It is expected to create an empowering space for reducing existing gender disparities in maritime administrations, the scientific community and the private sector. 

The event will gather women in maritime administrations, female business entrepreneurs, researchers and representatives from private sector companies, industry associations and the IMO-supported Women in Maritime associations for a review of the issue of biofouling, and a cross-sectoral analysis of solutions and services that will be required in relation to biofouling prevention and management.

Find out more about the GloFouling Project here: GloFouling Partnerships Project (imo.org)

Targeting marine plastic litter

The IMO-Norway-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) GloLitter Project to tackle marine plastic litter will receive co-financing of USD54,5000 under the third agreement with Saudi Arabia. Reducing and preventing marine plastic litter, which can include discarded items from ships and discarded fishing gear, is vital to safeguard coastal and global marine resources.

The GloLitter Project encourages twinning between countries to create a network for facilitation of knowledge dissemination about best practices to tackle marine plastic litter. The additional funding will be used to strengthen this model.

Under the agreement, the additional funding from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will augment the ongoing GloLitter Project by focusing on some of the Lead Partnering Countries (LPC) and twin those with one or more Partnering Country (PC) within the GloLitter network. 

IMO will prepare a guidance document for twining purposes and then the twinning countries can apply to be nominated as twins together with their specific work plan and related funding support needed. Funding support will include aspects such as organising workshops, providing expertise, etc.

Find out more about the GloLitter Project here: GloLitter Partnerships Project (imo.org)


Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 4 October, 2021

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