UNCTAD Report Calls For Decarbonised Shipping

3rd October 2023

The United Nations has issued a call for swift decarbonisation of the shipping industry, cautioning that the cost could exceed $100 billion annually, as emissions from the sector continue to rise. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released its "Review of Maritime Transport 2023" ahead of World Maritime Day on 28 September 2023, advocating for an equitable and just transition towards a decarbonised shipping industry.

UNCTAD Report Calls For Decarbonised Shipping

UNCTAD underscores the urgent need for cleaner fuel options, digital solutions, and a fair transition to address the ongoing carbon emissions and regulatory uncertainties in the shipping sector. With the shipping industry responsible for more than 80% of the world's trade volume and nearly 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which have surged by 20% in a mere decade, the situation demands immediate action.

Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, emphasizes, "Maritime transport must decarbonize without delay, while sustaining economic growth. Striking a balance between environmental sustainability, regulatory compliance, and economic imperatives is crucial for a prosperous, fair, and resilient future for maritime transport." UNCTAD also expresses concerns about the aging global shipping fleet; as of the beginning of 2023, commercial vessels were, on average, 22.2 years old, marking a two-year increase from a decade ago. Over half of the world's fleet is now over 15 years old, underlining the growing need for continuous emissions monitoring systems, in which Protea is a global leader.

In preparation for the United Nations climate conference (COP28) in November of this year, UNCTAD will advocate for a transition to cleaner fuels in the shipping industry, emphasizing the necessity of an environmentally effective, procedurally equitable, socially just, technologically inclusive, and globally equitable strategy.

UNCTAD, an intergovernmental organization within the United Nations Secretariat, champions the interests of developing countries in global trade. Established in 1964 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), it reports to both the UNGA and the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Comprising 195 member states, UNCTAD collaborates with non-governmental organisations worldwide, with its permanent secretariat headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

UNCTAD's primary goal is to formulate policies encompassing all facets of development, including trade, aid, transportation, finance, and technology. It was founded in response to concerns among developing nations that existing international institutions such as GATT (now replaced by the World Trade Organisation), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank were ill-equipped to address the specific challenges of developing countries. UNCTAD was conceived as a platform where developing nations could discuss and tackle issues related to their economic development.

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