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Copenhagen, Denmark (Tuesday, 28 May 2024) – Hot on the heels of the groundbreaking ITLOS advisory last week, Mr. John Kautoke, legal research fellow with the Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport (MCST), delivers a thought provoking  paper on the Pacific's high ambition options at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Co-authored with his colleagues at MCST, John Taukave, Morgan Wairui, Maria Sahib, Atina Schutz, Peter Nuttall, Alison Newell, Pierre-Jean Bordahandy, the paper entitled "Holomui ki mu’a: Pacific Catalytic Action at IMO Proves the Power of Small," delves into the influential role Large Ocean States are playing in the crucial negotiations over measures and revenue disbursement as the IMO moves towards agreeing on a historic global price on shipping GHG emissions.

Last week's ITLOS opinion affirmed that shipping's GHG emissions are pollutants and mandated states to undertake significantly enhanced actions to mitigate them and address their impacts. This legal directive may profoundly impact ongoing IMO negotiations, with member states poised to finalize measures by next April.

"Holomui ki mu’a" highlights the strategic interventions by Pacific nations, which have substantially altered the negotiating dynamics at the IMO. The paper reinforces the necessity of achieving an equitable transition that ensures no state is left behind, reinforcing the Pacific's leadership in high ambition climate diplomacy.

The increased engagement of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) since 2015 has transformed the IMO negotiation landscape, demonstrating the capacity of smaller states to effect meaningful policy change. The paper advocates for a robust price on emissions to propel industry mitigation efforts and secure an equitable global transition.

As the international community looks to the IMO to set a precedent with a global price on shipping GHG emissions, the insights and recommendations from "Holomui ki mu’a" provide an insightful framework for ensuring that the perspectives of the most climate-vulnerable nations are prioritized and addressed.