Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership

Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership

Noting the geographical reality of the Pacific, shipping is a vital sector for the islands, not only for mobility, but for all other services which are reliant on transport. These include education, health, agriculture, fisheries, governance and of course trade. A reliable shipping service has been an elusive goal for Pacific island countries mainly owing to the cost of fuel that makes regular service economically unfeasible.

The Pacific has been pushing for sustainable low carbon shipping both to reduce carbon emissions causing climate change, and also to improve feasibility of shipping services in the islands. A number of partners (PIDF, USP, IUCN, WWF, etc.) have been working together over the years to bring sustainable shipping up the priority ladder of governments and development partners as well as to bring investment into this important sector.

The Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership (PBSP) arose from a meeting held on the sidelines of the 3rd Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) held in Suva, Fiji in May 2019 (Download report here).

PBSP is coordinated by the Governments of Fiji and the Marshall Islands in partnership with the Governments of Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and others.

The sustainable development of Pacific Island countries (PICs) is undermined by urgent and large-scale sea transport challenges. These include the reliance of vessels (fishing, cargo, and passenger) on imported fossil fuels, the prevalence of inefficient and under-maintained vessels, and a lack of supporting infrastructure (modern ports, bunkering, shipbuilding and repair) for the maritime transport sector.

Current evidence highlights the significant and enduring potential benefits (social, economic, and environmental) of a rapid transition to sustainable, resilient and low-carbon sea transport in Pacific Island countries. Climate change is an urgent threat to the maritime transport sector (and sustainable development generally) in PICs, which can be addressed in part through efforts to decarbonise and adapt the sector in accordance with the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, supported by the Talanoa Dialogue and other regional and global platforms.

This transition and its wider benefits for climate change, sustainable development and the ocean economy will depend on infrastructure development and deployment, private sector innovation and entrepreneurship, education and capacity building, policy and governance reform, and a large-scale financial investment from diverse sources following a blended finance approach. To coordinate these activities the abovementioned Governments have agreed to establish a Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership, including an initial emissions reduction target for Pacific shipping of 40% by 2030, and full decarbonisation of the sector by 2050.

The members of the Partnership call on international development partners to support an initial blended finance package of usd$500 million enabling a 10-year work programme of Partnership activities from 2030–2030 in 5–6 in Pacific Island Countries. In the short term, this investment could be catalysed by technical assistance and capacity building collaborations, and the issuance of a guaranteed sovereign Blue Bond by the Government of Fiji.

Further details are expected to be announced in September 2019 at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit, and plenary meeting of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. 

 

PBSP Technical Working Paper