The Secretary of State for the North Sea Philippe De Backer (Open Vld), together with the Marshall and Solomon Islands and the International Maritime Organization, fights against the global greenhouse gas emissions in navigation. “Everybody has to contribute to this fight against climate change. I am convinced that maritime countries can make a significant contribution to the fight against global warming. So we can preserve a decent world for our children”, says De Backer. Belgium launches specifically with the Solomon Islands a knowledge exchange project on emission reduction between government services.
On the climate conference in Paris in 2016 the decision was made to reduce global CO2 emissions with 55 percent. Although the navigation sector represents 3 percent of this global greenhouse gas emissions, it is not bound by this climate agreement. And it doesn’t look like it that on the ongoing climate conference in Bonn agreements will be made for the navigation sector. He receives support of the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands in a so-called ‘High Ambition Coalition’. These small islands in the Pacific Ocean are the first victims of the rising sea level as a result of the climate change.
De Backer: “Climate change crosses borders. No country is immune. 2017 is even on its way to have the top three highest temperatures since history. The only way to face this challenge is to undertake action together.”
The services of the Secretary of State De Backer will closely collaborate with those of the president of the High Ambition Coalition and the concerned countries. Also the Royal Belgian Shipowners Association is very active and will play a facilitating role. The countries have to know now which goals they will set. Our country will play a crucial role to bring the different countries and points of views together.
De Backer: “Our Belgian shipowners already succeed to be innovating in the reduction of CO2 emissions and they have a very good reputation in the maritime world and beyond. This allows us to open gates, but it also puts a lot of responsibilities on our shoulders. Belgium assumes this responsibility and is a leader on international level. We are a small country, but we can make a big difference internationally and we can change the future.”
Moreover, De Backer has signed a partnership with his colleague of the Solomon Islands on 8 November 2017, which should contribute to this. Despite the great will to change, there also is a lack of knowledge on the way to reduce the CO2 emissions. This is also the case in the Solomon Islands. So, our country starts an exchange project, with a dedicated budget, to support the departments of the Solomon Islands involved in the reduction of CO2 emissions in navigation in their country.