NATION

UK To Ease Pacific Maritime Challenges

The Pacific is extremely vul­nerable to the effects of cli­mate change, but is also high­ly dependent on shipping for their everyday needs and faces particu­lar challenges resulting from hav­ing the
28 Sep 2018 11:00
UK To Ease Pacific Maritime Challenges
From left: Alison Newell (USP Researcher), Faranisese Kiniruwai (Director of Transport - Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport), Professor Derrick Armstrong ( Deputy V.C - Research, Innovation and International), Melanie Hopkins (British High Comissioner), Albon Ishoda (Deputy Chief of Mission - RMI Embassy), Ellison Mason (Solomon Islands High Commission) and Ana Tamani (Media Co-ordinator - USP) during the tea hosted by the British High Commission at the High Commissioner’s residence on September 26, 2018. Photo: British High Commission

The Pacific is extremely vul­nerable to the effects of cli­mate change, but is also high­ly dependent on shipping for their everyday needs and faces particu­lar challenges resulting from hav­ing the highest transport costs in the world, long trading routes and minute economies.

At the last round of the Interna­tional Maritime Organisation (IMO) negotiations in April, delegations adopted an initial strategy aimed at reducing GHG emissions from ships.

But, the Pacific Islands will con­tinue to play a vital role in ensuring that the impacts of climate change are considered in the next round of negotiations in October.

On the 29th of October , the British High Commission hosted a morning tea at the High Commissioner’s Res­idence to mark the announcement of £10k ($27,946) of funding the UK has contributed to the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Gov­ernment of the Republic of Mar­shall Island’s joint initiative, the Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport (MCST).

This funding will go towards MCST’s delivery of technical support for Pacific Island IMO delegations to assist with their preparations for the next round of negotiations in London this Octo­ber.

The invited guests included repre­sentatives from the Solomon Islands High Commission, Republic of the Marshall Islands Embassy, Republic of the Fiji Islands Ministry of Infra­structure and the University of the South Pacific.

“Our partners in the Pacific can count on the United Kingdom when it comes to climate change, whether we are collaborat­ing on IMO negotiations, through UNFCCC process­es and the High Ambition Coalition, or regional fora such as the Pacific Island Forum,” said Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner to Fiji and Head of the South Pacific Network, adding that “the UK is delighted to be part­nering with the University of the South Pacific in this area, particu­larly during the year of its 50th an­niversary.”

In October, delegations will recon­vene and as the nature of these discussions shift from a political nature to a more technical level.

It is becoming increasingly impor­tant that Pacific Island representa­tives are familiar with the science and options for the decarbonisation of international shipping.

UK funding will go towards tech­nical assistance for Pacific Island negotiators to engage at the October negotiating session.

Professor Derrick Armstrong from the USP thanked the UK Government for its sup­port, pointing out that the IMO negotiations play an important role in combating climate change, because shipping is identi­fied as one of the major contributors of carbon emissions.

‘’I think what we have been provid­ed with through your support is the opportunity for the Pacific to really have a voice in those discussions and negotiations, to lead and push for action.’’ Professor Armstrong said.

It is critical that Pacific negotiators have the technical support they re­quire if their voices are to be heard for urgent action to achieve emis­sions reductions.

Source: British High Commission

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