The Philippines has strongly advocated for the recognition and inclusion of seafarers’ concerns in the revised International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from ships. This call to action was made during the 80th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which concluded with the adoption of the 2023 IMO Strategy on GHG Reduction from Ships.

During the deliberations at the 15th session of the Intersessional Working Group on GHG from 26-30 June 2023, the Philippines emphasized the imperative of addressing seafarers’ interests in the strategy. Ambassador Teodoro Locsin, speaking at the opening of the 80th MEPC session, reiterated the crucial role of seafarers in achieving the shipping industry’s decarbonization objectives.

The Philippines has welcomed the adoption of the 2023 IMO Strategy on GHG Reduction from Ships as a clear demonstration of the organization’s commitment to combating climate change. Notably, Item 3 in the MEPC resolution, which endorses the revised strategy, acknowledges the significance of addressing the human element and the impact on seafarers and other maritime professionals in ensuring a safe implementation of the strategy.

Specifically, the strategy’s provisions in items 5.5 and 5.6 emphasize the need for a comprehensive approach to regulating safety in ships utilizing zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels, and energy sources. Furthermore, these items underscore the importance of assessing the strategy’s effects on seafarers and other maritime professionals, urging the IMO to evaluate its instruments, guidance, and training standards to facilitate an equitable transition that leaves no one behind.

In addition, the Philippine delegation expressed its support for setting the ambitious goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping by 2050. Recognizing the urgent need to address climate change, the delegation emphasized the importance of scaling up and enhancing programs and partnerships for technical assistance and capacity building. These initiatives would particularly benefit developing countries, least developed countries (LDCs), and small island developing states (SIDs) in their transition towards sustainable shipping practices.

The Philippine delegation reaffirmed its commitment to working collaboratively with other nations and industry stakeholders to achieve the shared goal of reducing GHG emissions from international shipping. By setting ambitious targets, enhancing technical assistance, and conducting thorough impact assessments, the delegation aims to foster a sustainable and environmentally responsible maritime sector.

As part of the capacity-building efforts to support the implementation of the revised strategy, the IMO may develop a training and skills program for seafarers focused on reducing GHG emissions from ships. This program could be funded through initiatives such as the Integrated Technical Cooperation Program (ITCP) and GHG Technical Cooperation Trust Fund, as well as other programs sponsored by member states.

The Philippine delegation, headed by Ambassador Locsin, comprised key representatives including Ms. Sonia B Malaluan, Deputy Administrator for Planning at the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA); Director Marc Anthony Pascua from MARINA-NCR; Vice Admiral Robert Patrimonio from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG); Minister Ana Marie Hernando, Alternate Permanent Representative to IMO; Maritime Attaché Atty. Jean Pia; Technical Adviser Capt. Neil Azcuna, along with other delegates from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Climate Change Commission (CCC), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), PCG, and MARINA. Their active participation in the deliberations was facilitated through a hybrid facility.

The Philippines remains committed to collaborating with international partners to address climate change concerns within the maritime industry and ensure the fair and just transition of seafarers and other maritime professionals.

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