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Breaking Stories

The Pacific Elders’ Voice (PEV) will be meeting in London on 1st July 2023. The timing of this meeting falls between two important events of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) - the 15th Intersessional Working Group (ISWG 15) meeting, being held from 26th to 30th June, and the 80th Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC80) meeting, being held from 2nd to 7th July. The MEPC80 meeting potentially signifies international shipping’s last chance to ensure a strategy that is aligned with a 1.5°C trajectory, as had been agreed in the Paris Agreement. The PEV meeting is themed "Ramping Up Ambition in IMO: Looking to the Future through the Past."

The meeting brings together former Pacific Islands’ Heads of State (Pacific Elders), a “veteran” Pacific negotiator and two young negotiators in an intergenerational dialogue to reflect on the past, review the progress on 1.5°C in the IMO to date, and discuss the aims and hopes that drive today’s Pacific voice in these negotiations.

Download the press release to read more.


Project Cerulean - A Vast Ocean of Possibility to Explore

In 2018 Swire Shipping and the University of the South Pacific launched a new project to research and design a low-carbon wind powered, commercially-operated freighter to stimulate outer-island Pacific trade. Route analysis by the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport (MCST) demonstrated a marginal but viable business case if the vessel could be built within budget. Collaboration with French ship design firm, VPLP resulted in this design for a 40m ship initially targeting the copra trade between RMI, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Fiji. Spiralling costs in all aspects of ship construction following the Covid pandemic and subsequent global logistic chain crisis has seen shipyards with overflowing order books. With build quotes nearing double initial estimates, the business case is no longer viable, and Swire have made the decision not to proceed further at this time.

While the project has not resulted in a new vessel, the research collaboration has provided a much-improved understanding of the challenges facing inter-island transport connectivity under the current conditions. Most importantly, the project has provided an immense amount of information and detailed analysis on deploying Wind-Assisted Ship Propulsion (WASP) vessels, designed for the specific range of operational conditions in Pacific island countries and capable of responding to the needs of remote island communities. MCST’s lead researcher of the Cerulean Project, Andrew Irvin, discusses the research findings and why the research platform gained is so important for the Pacific’s forthcoming transition to low carbon shipping.

Click here to read more

The Pacific call for an equitable transition for world shipping appears to be building. But is all as it seems? - Dr Peter Nuttall

It’s been a fantastic week for international support for the Pacific’s high ambition position at the International Maritime Organisation – after many years of this small alliance of Pacific states, nicknamed the '6PAC',2 seemingly being the lone voice crying in the wilderness for a fully 1.5 aligned agenda.

Special Presidential Envoy, John Kerry, said last month in Singapore:

"This is the year that all of our efforts can come together and build the momentum that we need. In July, the International Maritime Organisation must include a goal of zero emissions no later than 2050 and that has to be the North Star for climate ambition for this sector".

Click here to read more


Majuro (Thursday, 25 MAY 20223)

Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands seek commitment from shipping for highest possible ambition in finalisation of the revised strategy on reduction of GHG emissions.

The 80th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (3 to 7 July 2023), must make critical decisions affecting the shipping sector, all member States and global efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including those related to equity. This is being seen by many experts as shipping’s watershed moment, the last chance for this large emitting sector to commit to a 1.5 aligned agenda.

With one last negotiating session left before IMO is scheduled to adopt a revised Strategy that will set the speed and trajectory of shipping decarbonization, this is the last opportunity for Pacific high ambition states to mark out the detail of what is needed for an equitable transition, one that does not leave the climate most vulnerable countries behind.

A coalition of Pacific high ambition states, nicknamed the “6PAC” has lodged two new submissions at IMO, setting out the proposed text the Strategy to keep 1.5 on the table. The Pacific alliance is promoting the highest ambition position, including proposals by Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands, supported by Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, for a significant increase in ambition commensurate with a 1.5 degree aligned transition that leaves no state behind.

The 6PAC has been responsible for advancing a position of ambitious policy measures, including a universal levy on all shipping emissions that the World Bank is valuing at some $60billion per annum, with the majority of revenues allocated to the priority needs of climate vulnerable states, in particular SIDS and LDCs.

The outcome of these negotiations will have long term and significant impacts on all Pacific States and economies, given our extreme reliance on international shipping and our high vulnerability to any increase in transport costs or security. But historically, few SIDS and LDCs have participated in IMO processes and we are heavily under-represented at the decision-making committee plenaries.

As the IMO draws close to the end of a 5-year negotiating process, there are clear signs the Pacific’s persistent advocacy is making an impact. The G7 leaders came out with a clear statement for the IMO to increase ambition in line with the Pacific calls. But the critical issue of how high to set the price on carbon and whether the significant revenues generated will be used to the benefit of the climate most vulnerable states is now in the balance. The Pacific’s new submissions set out a clear pathway for a shipping decarbonisation path that leaves no State behind.

– End of Media Release –

For further information and interviews please contact:

Mark Borg