European Union Delegation to Singapore

Speech at the Opening of the Caribbean Maritime Climate Action Conference and Exhibition

Port of Spain, 24/02/2021 - 17:26, UNIQUE ID: 210224_27
Speeches of the Ambassador

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I greet you on behalf of the European Union.

It is important and timely to acknowledge the work of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Center - MTCC Caribbean - in addressing the challenges and opportunities in climate action within the maritime sector and its continued efforts in building regional capacity for the implementation of the MARPOL convention and the decarbonization of maritime operations.

We are particularly happy to see that one of our EU funded programs “Capacity Building for Climate Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry”, implemented by the International Maritime Organization, had a significant role in a successful partnership with the Global MTTC Network (GMN).

The project aims at reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions as well as promoting energy efficiency in the maritime shipping industry.

Global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping rely heavily on improvements in energy efficiency and increased use of low-carbon technologies. Better energy efficiency means less fuel is used, that leads to lower emissions, and finally results in cleaner planet Earth.

Funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Maritime Organization, the Global MTCC Network (GMN) initiative unites technology centres – Maritime Technologies Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) – in targeted regions (Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America, Pacific) into a global network.

Together, they are promoting technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector and help navigate shipping into a low-carbon future.

Carefully selected to become centers of excellence for their regions, the MTCCs focus on technical co-operation, capacity building and technology transfer.

The MTCCs are partnering with forward-thinking academic institutions, such as the University of Trinidad and Tobago, commercial and shipping companies, government departments and authorities as well as other UN bodies with a climate-change mandate to pursue these far-reaching objectives.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I will deviate a little from the topic of the conference, but it is important and of course interrelates with what will be discussed in the next three days

I would like to acquaint you briefly with the European Green Deal.

It is a radical project to make the EU climate neutral by 2050 — that means the world’s second-largest economy will stop adding to the earth’s stock of greenhouse gases by then. It covers every aspect of society and the economy and includes goals for biodiversity and agriculture.

The European Union is deeply committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has reaffirmed that developed countries as a group should continue to take the lead and should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 as compared to 1990.

It will make Europe climate neutral by 2050, boosting the economy through green technology, creating sustainable energy and transport and cutting pollution.

The Green Deal isn’t a law. But it will inspire a legislative firestorm.

The centerpiece is the European Climate Law, and beyond that, expect the coming year to see a flurry of new regulations, plans and changes to EU law: strategies for agriculturehydrogenbuilding renovationoffshore wind energymethane pollution, sustainable investment, the circular economy and many others all working their way through the Brussels administration.

The EU has been the region of the world where the most climate policies have been implemented, and where practical policy experimentation in the field of the environment and climate change has been taking place at a rapid pace over the last twenty-five years. This has led to considerable success in reducing pollution, decoupling emissions from economic growth and fostering global technological leadership.

The science makes clear how much more needs to be done in order to effectively tackle dangerous climate change from impacting the planet and its people. The effectiveness and costs of policies will be key to determining the pace of progress. The EU is making its share of efforts needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and has put in place ambitious climate policies leading to a true decoupling of emissions and economic growth.

But the problem of climate change is obviously not one that the European Union can solve alone!

Thus, the experience of the EU, can also serve as valuable learning-by doing example for other countries, as they develop their climate policies while putting their economies on a solid track towards a prosperous, low-carbon development.

A first important lesson is that European climate policy has been built up step-by-step.

Learning-by-doing has turned out to be a key feature. Tackling the new and complex problem of climate change means that many consumers and producers need to change their habits and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Such changes also have many economy-wide repercussions, all needed to be done in a rapidly changing world, and in a multi-level regulatory environment.

This explains the importance of the MARPOL 73/78 regulations implementing the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and defining measures to protect the marine environment from operational pollution. This is evidently why the European Union subscribes and has been providing support to the implementation of this convention for so long.

Marine life, the global climate and our economy and social wellbeing all depend on healthy seas. Despite some improvements, our assessments show that the way we currently use seas remains unsustainable. Climate change and competition for natural resources add extra pressures on the marine environment. European identified policies and measures could result in even greater improvements when they are implemented through an ‘ecosystem-based management’ approach and are supported by a global ocean governance framework for adaptation and replication elsewhere. Hence, the importance of MARPOL.

But I leave these subjects to the experts that will animate the conference during these days.

I am very grateful for the invitation to be here and I wish you full success with this initiative.

Thank you for the attention!

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