An ambitious IMO project to establish a global network of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) in developing countries is to go ahead thanks to a €10 million funding contribution from the European Commission (EC).
The funds mobilised by the EC illustrate the EU's commitment to support the concrete implementation of a range of measures aimed at addressing energy efficiency and shipping emissions and, through this, contributing to the fight against climate change. This IMO energy-efficiency project is part of the Commission's broader climate financing portfolio aimed at helping less developed countries take climate actions in specific fields or sectors such as the shipping sector.
The aim of the project will be to help beneficiary countries limit and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their shipping sectors through technical assistance and capacity building. It will encourage the uptake of innovative energy-efficiency technologies among a large number of users through the widespread dissemination of technical information and know-how. This will heighten the impact of technology transfer.
The four-year project will target five regions - Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. These have been targeted for their significant number of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDSs).
The heart of the project will be the establishment of five MTCCs, one in each target region, with seed-funding support from the project. These will have a strong regional dimension, becoming centres of excellence for promoting the uptake of low-carbon technologies and operations in maritime transport. Each MTCC is expected to be hosted by an existing institution with a credible standing in the region. These host institutions will be selected through an open process of competitive bidding against a set of criteria and project deliverables.
The project will be coordinated by IMO’s Marine Environment Division through a dedicated unit at IMO headquarters.
The agreement to fund the project was signed on 31 December 2015 by Stefan Micallef, Director of IMO’s Marine Environment Division, and Peter Craig McQuaide, Head of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Unit of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development.
Speaking at the signing, Mr Micallef said, “Working through the MTCCs, we have taken a novel approach to implementing this major project. Therefore, we welcome the EC contribution to this project which will form a cornerstone of continuing efforts by the Organization to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of the energy-efficiency regulations worldwide, and the activities undertaken by the MTCCs should provide an important focus for the promotion of technical co-operation, capacity building and technology transfer relating to the improvement of ships’ energy efficiency.”
The Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres will act as focal points for activities to:
- improve capability within maritime administrations, port authorities, other relevant government departments and related shipping stakeholders to facilitate compliance with existing international regulations as well as any potential future energy-efficiency measures
- enable participating countries to develop national maritime energy-efficiency policies and measures and become signatories to MARPOL Annex VI
- promote uptake of low-carbon technologies and operations in maritime transport through pilot projects, thus creating an ‘enabling environment’ for energy-efficient practices in shipping
- establish voluntary pilot data-collection and reporting systems to support shipowners, and maritime administrations and feed experience and understanding of these systems into debates and decision-making processes at IMO.
The results of capacity-building activities and pilot projects run by the MTCCs will be widely disseminated within the international maritime community. As a result, the project will enhance capacity at national and regional levels in all aspects of maritime GHG emission reduction and energy efficiency and offer valuable insight of local experiences on the uptake of energy-efficient technologies and operations, data collection and relevant project planning and management.
The overall results of the project are expected to include:
- greater uptake of energy-efficiency technologies and operations by ship owners and operators
- improved capacity within public administrations to implement and enforce relevant existing and future international rules for ships’ energy efficiency
- more participating countries becoming signatories to MARPOL Annex VI
- participating countries developing, implementing and enforcing related national maritime energy-efficiency policies.
The concept of a global network of maritime technology cooperation centres to accelerate capacity building and technology transfer in the maritime field was highlighted by IMO during the two-day inaugural Future-Ready Shipping Conference, a joint IMO-Singapore international conference on maritime technology transfer and capacity building, held in Singapore on 28-29 September 2015 (www.future-readyshipping.com).
This conference itself arose in response to a resolution adopted by IMO in 2013, on Promotion of Technical Co-operation and Transfer of Technology relating to the Improvement of Energy Efficiency of Ships. Among other things, this requests the Organization, through its various programmes, to provide technical assistance to Member States to enable cooperation in the transfer of energy-efficient technologies to developing countries in particular; and to further assist in sourcing funding for capacity building and support to States, in particular developing States, which have requested technology transfer.
Within the scope of this resolution, IMO is also executing a two-year project to build understanding and knowledge of technical and operational measures to lead maritime transport into a low-carbon future. This joint Global Environment Facility (GEF)/IMO/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships Project, or GloMEEP, is also focusing on developing countries, where the world’s fleet is increasingly based.