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[17 April 2024] - The maritime industry faces unprecedented challenges as it navigates towards a sustainable and decarbonized future. In a recent webinar titled “DissectingMEPC81 - is IMO on course for an equitable transition?," we asked leading experts whether the IMO is on course towards sustainable maritime sector through an equitable transition.

The Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport (MCST) hosted the webinar to raise awareness and spark conversations around the International Maritime Organization (IMO) negotiating process informing the adoption of binding technological and economic measures, which are due by April 2025 at MEPC83. This, to ensure the sector delivers on the net-zero by 2050 target set out in the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy.

The webinar featured global experts. Dr. Aly Shaw, a Senior Policy Expert who brought her insights into regulatory frameworks, Ms. Jessica Taylor, a seasoned maritime professional from Barbados, and Mr. John Kautoke, an Advisor on Maritime GHG matters for Tonga, who provided valuable input based on his extensive experience in IMO negotiations. Mr John Taukäve from the island of Rotuma moderated the webinar.

Ambassador Albon Ishoda invited these panelists and more than seventy participants to discuss whether or not IMO is on course for an equitable transition. The IMO is the United Nations agency where eight Pacific countries, recently joined by Caribbean Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), have been pushing for a 1.5-aligned regulatory framework for international shipping. They have proposed a universal levy on GHG emissions starting at $150 per tonne of Co2-equivalent to give a clear price signal to the industry - and a revenue disbursement mechanism that enables necessary investments are made, ensuring an equitable transition Ambassador Ishoda, who serves as the Marshallese Special Envoy for Maritime Energy Transitions, opened discussions with a compelling statement. "Something potentially world-changing did happen at IMO. We aren’t there yet! The case for a universal mandatory levy on GHG at a high enough entry price to start to incentivise the market and resource the equitable transaction we have all committed to remained squarely on the table. Not only does it remain as one of three potential architectures for us to agree at MEPC83, it was the option that gained most traction and did so because a growing chorus of small voices increasingly understand that only the highest ambition pathway gets us anywhere close to 1.5."

Across two sessions, allowing participation across all timezones, panelists and participants stressed the necessity for concrete measures that will deliver an equitable transition through the IMO, while warning of the inequitable implications of regional carbon pricing measures that have emerged due to slow progress at the IMO over the past two decades. The webinar’s open dialogue reflects the commitment of Pacific and Caribbean island states to widely engage with stakeholders ahead of upcoming negotiations at the IMO.

Ambassador Ishoda captured the tone of the webinar by underscoring the potential for transformative change of strong IMO measures. Though with the caveat that significant work remains ahead to ensure no country is left behind in this urgent and important transition.

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Webinar recordings

Session 1

Session 2