A new initiative has emerged during COP 28, the “2030 Shipping Pact for People and Nature (SPPaN)”, to address the interconnected challenges of pollution, biodiversity loss, and the climate crisis and the potential co-benefits of shipping decarbonization for people and nature.
new report titled Navigating the Future: Bridging Shipping, Biodiversity, and Decarbonization is the foundation of the 2030 SPPaN initiative. The report takes a close look at shipping’s short and long-term impact on ocean health, productivity, and biodiversity, highlighting the importance of a coordinated approach and links between actions to decarbonise and protect ocean health anchored in shipping practices.
A central recommendation from the report is the framing of a new 2030 Shipping Pact For People and Nature (SPPaN), which outlines concrete measures to guide the maritime sector in assessing, reducing, and avoiding its negative impacts on marine biodiversity and climate. If quickly and comprehensively implemented, the Pact measures could contribute to reversing biodiversity loss and address the climate crisis.
2030 SPPaN details multiple targets, best practices, and milestones that can be implemented as a basket of measures to address climate and biodiversity together. These include:
- Reducing ocean pollution from shipping by phasing out scrubber washwater discharges, treating effluent to the highest standard (including greywater), and eliminating discharges in Marine Protected Areas.
- Limiting the spread of invasive species by striving for 100% effectiveness of ballast water treatment systems, and making the IMO hull fouling guidelines mandatory.
- Ramping down air pollution with an ‘ECA (Emission Control Area) Everywhere’ policy, setting concrete targets of 50% reduction in air pollutants and 50% global reduction of black carbon emissions (99% near ice sheets and glaciers) by 2030.
- Focusing on marine protection through quadrupling the number of PSSAs (Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas), and setting high standards for shipping in Marine Protected Areas.
- Revamping the CII (Carbon Intensity Target) with a target of at least a yearly 8% efficiency improvement, which improves the energy efficiency of ships, swiftly bringing down fuel consumption and GHG emissions while reducing spill risks, black carbon emissions, and URN.
- Setting achievable 2030 targets for URN reduction of 50%, 25% fleet average speed reduction, and whale strike mortalities decreased by 80%.
- As has been done in the Arctic and Antarctic, banning HFO globally by 2030 to reduce spill risks and the use of hazardous bunker fuel for all global shipping.
Recognising that climate and biodiversity are interconnected is not only crucial to understanding how shipping operations currently impact the environment around them, but also essential to developing solutions for decarbonisation that also consider other ocean impacts and co-benefits
… said Andrew Stephens, Executive Director of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative.
2030 SPPaN also embeds foundational pillars to ensure the shipping sector is aligned with the UN Precautionary Approach, acknowledges Nature Based solutions to address the climate crisis, and Justice and Equity are at the center of building a transition that leaves no one behind.
Utilization of Indigenous Knowledge needs to be a key component in this shift, which would be a significant contribution from the maritime community to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
… said Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk, President, Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada.
2030 SPPaN Pillars
#1 Just and equitable — building a transition that leaves no one behind
The 2030 SPPaN prioritizes upholding and enhancing the principles of justice and equity, including but not limited to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, promoting gender and LGBTQ+ equality, engaging youth, and eliminating racism.
#2 Precautionary — aligned with the UN Precautionary Approach
The Precautionary Approach is a critical element of 2030 SPPaN, and it supports the establishment of linkages between climate action and reversing biodiversity loss. Swift action must be taken to address the triple planetary threat, and shipping mitigation measures must keep pace with rapid changes and ecosystem tipping points.
#3 Nature-based — acknowledging the power of the natural world and its complex ecosystems to address and reverse the impacts of climate change
The ocean should be treated as a sensitive life support system and therefore must be provided with extraordinary protection and mandatory measures. The ocean can play a significant role in reversing the climate crisis, and Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) can be used as a spatial shipping tool which complements networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other conservation measures.
Safe shipping is inextricably linked to seafarers rights and environmental protection, and often can’t happen without adequate and well maintained port and on ship infrastructure.
Preventing accidents resulting in oil, fuel, and chemical spills, loss of containers, and other pollution depends heavily on weather forecasting, ship design, construction and operation, cargo handling and stowage, crew training and working conditions, regular ship and equipment inspections, the use of pilots/escort tugs in challenging waters, the development of emergency response plans and regular emergency response drills.
Additionally, digitization and e-navigation are showing promise in contributing to fewer accidents, spills and reduced whale strikes.38 Navigating the future of biodiversity protection and reducing climate impact for the shipping sector will count on creating a safety culture which respects human rights and substantially invests in planning, training and equipment.
With the revision of the underwater radiated noise (URN) guidelines and the IMO’s GHG reduction targets this year, it’s a key time for the maritime sector to seize on the opportunity to feed two birds with one hand, so to speak. Building URN reduction targets into climate plans and strategies makes for an even stronger case to start implementing speed reduction and efficiency measures now.
… highlighted Andrew Dumbrille, Co-Founder of Equal Routes and report co-author
Meanwhile, Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for COP28, stated that a sustainable, resilient maritime industry needs to consider not only how to decarbonise but also how to deal with a multitude of other environmental, social and socio-economic impacts