IMO, Saudi Arabia sign new partnerships

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has signed three partnership agreements with the Kingdom of 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 Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser, Minister of Transport and Logistic Services, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (28 September), will see US$509,000 going to the three environmental initiatives.

Emission reduction

Under the first agreement, around US$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 Program and will be executed by IMO’s Department of Partnerships and Projects (DPP).

Jose Matheickal, DPP chief 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 decarbonization initiatives.

The preparatory phase of IMO CARES is designed to identify various key stakeholders who might become part of the long-term IMO CARES program. Potential stakeholders include donors, regional maritime technology cooperation centers, various decarbonization R&D centers, 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 program. It will maintain a focus on developing countries in order to facilitate a global decarbonization shift. 

Raising awareness of biofouling for women in Arab States

The second agreement sets out US$54,500 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.

Targeting marine plastic litter

The IMO-Norway-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) GloLitter Project to tackle marine plastic litter will receive co-financing of US$54,5000 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 organizing workshops, providing expertise, etc.

Image credit: IMO

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