Pacific Maritime Technical Officers Workshop on Shipping Emissions – 7-9 February 2018

Technical Officers from the Maritime bodies of Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu met in Suva, Fiji between the 7th and 9th February 2018, to discuss the on-going negotiations at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on reduction of shipping emissions. The meeting was organised by PIDF, USP and the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transportation with the support of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji. It was financially supported by the Government of France.

The workshop was officially opened by Hon. Vijay Nath, Fiji’s Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and His Excellency Patteson Oti, High Commissioner for Solomon Islands to Fiji.  Hon. Nath said that Fiji, as COP President, was all too aware of how critical it was for all sectors to play their part in keeping global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.  “At Bonn, Fiji along with other Pacific leaders spoke strongly on the need for all sectors and actors to take immediate and significant action to address this.” Hon. Nath identified international shipping as one of the significant emitters and these emissions were predicted to increase over time.  “Our connectivity with the rest of the world is essential and it is important that the Pacific Islands are well represented and unified in IMO meetings,” he said. Read Hon. Nath’s full speech here.

High Commissioner Oti said that the April meeting of the IMO (the 72nd Maritime Environment Protection Committee meeting or MEPC72) were going to involve making some tough decisions.  “We know that there are other IMO member states whose focus is on protecting their trade and economies and not on ensuring the survival of our Pacific Island States and the rest of the world’s coastal communities,” he said.  “This means that we will have to make sure our voices are heard, that we can defend our position, and that we actively engage with other IMO members.”

The workshop was facilitated by Ms Alison Newell and Dr Peter Nuttall, both from the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transportation. Dr Tristan Smith from the University College London updated participants with the latest available science related to shipping emissions and the changes needed for the shipping industry to do its fair share to cut emissions for the world to keep temperature rise under the 1.5⁰C, the climate change target that the Pacific countries’ leaders lobbied so hard for in the Paris Agreement. Mr Albon Ishoda, the Marshall Islands’ Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of RMI in Fiji presented on the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transportation, whereas Mr John Tunidau, CEO of the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji presented on some of the actions being taken in Fiji.

Two important matters discussed at this workshop were a Position Paper for the Pacific prepared by PIDF for member countries to work together in addressing the issue of shipping emissions in relation to negotiations at the IMO, and a draft submission paper for the IMO MEPC72 meeting in April 2018. See workshop programme here.

The meeting also encouraged countries to consider signing the Tony De Brum Declaration that deals with maritime transport emissions.

The country delegates discussed a number of recommendations around five important areas: (i) Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building; (ii) Networking and Outreach; (iii) Funding; (iv) Advocacy; and (v) Research, Data Collection and Information sharing. Read the full recommendations here.

At the end of the workshop, PIDF Secretary General Francois Martel, said that PIDF has been working on sustainable transport since its inception when Pacific Leaders identified the issue as one of ten priorities for the region. He said the maritime transport sector, though essential for the oceanic region, had been practically ignored in the development agenda and PIDF had been working to raise its profile ever since. He said the sector was indispensable for our islands.

Hon. Vijay Nath, Fiji’s Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

In closing, His Excellency Sujiro Seam, the Ambassador of France for Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu, said that France, with territories in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, has similar concerns about Climate Change as the Pacific Island countries. He said the COP23 President was correct when he said that “we are all in the same canoe”… it was certainly the case for France. See Ambassador Sujiro Seam’s speech here.

Documents and presentations.

Workshop flyer
Workshop programme

Hon. Vijay Nath’s speech
Ambassador Sujiro Seam’s speech

Peter Nuttall – Setting the scene.
Peter Nuttall – Initial Strategy – key issues
Alison Newell – IMO Roadmap & Revised IMO GHG emissions reduction Strategy
Tristan Smith – Latest analysis on shipping CO2 emissions
Albon Ishoda – Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transportation: A framework for transition
John Tunidau – GHG Reduction On Fijis Domestic Fleet
Mark Davies – Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre – Pacific

His Excellency Patteson Oti, High Commissioner for Solomon Islands to Fiji

Tony De Brum Declaration
Tony De Brum Declaration presentation

Workshop recommendations
Workshop report: Low resolution (2MB) or High Resolution (5MB)
PIDF Position Paper on Shipping Emissions.
Press Release of 14 March 2018 on the Position paper.

His Excellency Sujiro Seam, Ambassador of France to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu


PIDF Secretary General Francois Martel