Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago

Speech on the occasion of the Second Southern Sub-Regional Workshop of the MTCC Caribbean

Port of Spain, 18/03/2019 - 16:04, UNIQUE ID: 190318_13
Speeches of the Ambassador

Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre Caribbean

2nd Southern Sub-Regional Workshop March 18th -19th 2019

Speech of  H.E. Ambassador Aad Biesebroek


  • Professor Sarim N. Al-Zubaidy, President of The University of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Mr. Colin Young, Regional Maritime Adviser for the Caribbean Region for the International Maritime Organization
  • Lieutenant Commander Ronald Alfred, Director of the Maritime Services Division of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Mrs. Vivian Rambarath-Parasram, Director & Head of MTCC Caribbean
  • Ladies and gentlemen

It is a pleasure to be back here at the University of Trinidad and Tobago and say a few words at the opening of the 2nd Southern Sub-Regional Workshop of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre Caribbean. It is almost to the date two years ago that I was at this same location when the Centre was launched. At the time we explained how the Caribbean Centre would be part of a global network of five centres that would work towards promoting ship energy-efficiency technologies and operations, and the reduction of harmful emissions from ships.

We said that this network is in essence a project that is implemented under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation, the United Nations specialised agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. The European Union had decided to financially contribute to the work of this global network. Why is that?

We do this because the project has everything to do with the fight against climate change.

These days most scientists – some say 97 % of scientists – agree that global warming is taking place, that human behaviour contributes to global warming, and that it causes changes to our climate. Most people believe it is so. We measure it through the rising temperatures of the oceans. We can see it through the melting ice caps, the shrinking glaciers and the bleaching of coral reefs. And we feel it as the frequency and intensity of hurricanes are increasing. Scientists also agree that we need to try and contain further warming to well below 2% or preferably below 1.5% the established pre-industrial baseline to avoid catastrophic and irreparable changes to our climate.

Countries agreed too that climate change is happening and that urgent measures are required to mitigate change. They adopted the Paris Agreement in November 2015, which entered into force on 4 November 2016. To date 195 parties have signed and 185 have ratified the Agreement.

Under the Paris Agreement, each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming. Nationally determined contributions are the commitments or the declared efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change and should contribute to the achievement of the long-term goals to contain global warming. To meet the long-term goals each country and each sector should play its part.

We know that transportation, industry and electricity generation are 3 key sectors dominating the generation of CO2 emissions globally. And the international shipping industry is a large and growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. There are big numbers involved. Maritime transport emits around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

The good thing is that there is significant untapped potential to reduce shipping emissions cost-effectively. Many technical and operational measures can deliver more fuel savings than the investment requires. It is not only better from a climate and environmental perspective, but also cheaper. So they actually make perfect economic sense.

In the EU we are progressing. We are monitoring, reporting and verifying CO2 emissions from large ships using EU ports, and we are setting greenhouse gas reduction targets for the maritime transport sector. We have introduced the MRV Regulation asking companies to monitor for each of their ships CO2 emissions and fuel consumption and submit reports and we do check compliance of these reports.

The EU is also supporting and funding investments in research and innovation necessary to reduce GHG emissions. We are working on that through our Horizon 2020 Programme and we are positive that it will bring forward the solutions that will help all of us rising to the challenge. 

During the workshop you will hear about progress in the Caribbean: the results obtained so far under the project, the findings from the pilot projects and the remaining challenges to address before the programme ends later this year. Reading the agenda I am very pleased to note that the private sector is actively in the workshop.  This should make for two days of vibrant discussions.

In closing I wish to thank the International Maritime Organization for their role in rolling out the project and for the support they provide to the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre Caribbean, and I wish to thank UTT for housing the Centre and their leading role in the project in the Caribbean.

Thank you for your attention.






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