IMO-UNEP Norway Innovation Forum focuses on decarbonisation

IMO-UNEP Norway Innovation Forum focuses on decarbonisation


The event was held at the International Maritime Organization’s headquarters in London, UK

The second edition of the IMO-UNEP-Norway Innovation Forum focused on the transition in the maritime industry towards decarbonisation, and the need to do this in an inclusive way.

The event was held on 28 and 29 September at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) headquarters in London, UK, coinciding with World Maritime Day. Nearly 2,000 attendees both in person and online heard from several speakers, including representatives of Governments, regulators, industry and academia, over a number of panels

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, emphasised the importance of innovation of inclusivity in his opening remarks.

"Innovation is fundamental to a successful energy transition of the maritime industry,” said Lim. “It requires new technologies, renewable alternative fuels and infrastructure to support low- and zero-carbon shipping and new financial solutions to support all these. We also need innovative ecosystems, created through research and development partnerships in particular involving the private sector. We need all hands-on-deck to ensure the success of these initiatives. This needs to be done in the most inclusive way possible: we will only succeed by journeying together.”

Among the speakers was Harry Conway, vice-chair of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee, who updated the forum on the latest developments in regulation. Topics included the forthcoming introduction of carbon intensity measures and the work to be done on the revision of the initial IMO Greenhouse Gas Strategy by mid-2023.

Panellists shared examples of projects supporting the deployment of low carbon technologies, including by the United Nations Climate Technology Centre and Network; the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre; the European Commission; and a Germany-sponsored project on transitioning to low carbon sea transport in the Marshall Islands.

The IMO’s Louise Proctor outlined the pathway through technical cooperation for countries to build their capacity to implement regulations. Then, Gyorgyi Gurban, head of projects implementation in the IMO’s department of partnerships and projects, outlined the range of IMO projects targeting greenhouse gas reduction and supporting least developed countries and small island developing states.

The event’s final panel focused on how inclusive innovation is happening already, through a number of different ecosystems. Representatives of several IMO-established Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres presented an overview of their experiences in trialling technology, completing pilot studies including data collection and sharing knowledge.

Finally, at the end of the second day of the forum, the IMO signed a partnership agreement with the Commonwealth Secretariat. Under the agreement, both organisations commit to strengthening the maritime and port sectors in selected developing countries through activities which will promote the adoption of sustainable maritime transport systems and practices.

"The ideas generated by your debates will undoubtedly contribute to further strengthening work around some key issues,” said Kitack Lim, as he addressed attendees in his closing remarks. “This includes the need to work towards decarbonisation and strengthened levels of ambition, whilst taking into account the needs of developing States, especially Small Island Developing states and Least Developed Countries, as well as to deploy green technologies globally in a manner that facilitates blue economic growth in developing countries.”

The next edition of the Forum will take place in 2023.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
10 October 2022

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