Ports play a crucial role in the global economy as they facilitate the transportation of 90% of global trade and deliver numerous goods that we use every day. However, unsustainable port development can pose severe threats to coastal ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide. Ports are known to cause significant pollution due to dredging and the disposal of dredged spoil, which can harm habitats and fisheries. Port machinery and ships are also major contributors to carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to climate change. Port construction also contributes to direct damage of ecosystems. Due to the environmental effects of ports, there have been worldwide efforts to create more sustainable and environmentally friendly ports, also known as “greener” ports.
A port can be considered “green” when it prioritizes and promotes eco-friendly and sustainable practices across all facets of its operations in the maritime industry. As the world continues to battle the crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, efforts to adopt sustainable practices are more crucial than ever. In the Western Indian Ocean region, the development of green ports has become a top priority in the bid to promote sustainable green growth.
The Nairobi Convention in collaboration with other partners held the second in-person ports stakeholder meeting in April 2023. The meeting hosted by the Tanzania Shipping Cooperation Agency (TASAC) was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where port management authorities, maritime agencies, Focal Points to the Secretariat, WIOSAP Regional Task Force members, Regional Economic Communities -RECs, Forum for Academic and Research Institutions (FARI) and WIO-C members convened. The aim of the meeting was to present and obtain feedback on the draft Situational Assessment on regional ports, draft Scenario Analysis for Sustainable Green Port Development, and draft Toolkit for Green Port Development in WIO region.
The meeting followed a virtual stakeholder meeting held in March 2022 and the first in-person meeting held in August 2022 in Dar es Salaam; where inputs were obtained on specifics pertaining to the Situation Assessment, key driving forces and issues engendering sustainability in port development, and tools for inclusion in the Toolkit for Green Port Development in the WIO region.
The Situational Assessment contains an overview of ports in the region, port legislation and authorities, key environmental impacts, case studies of selected ports, the concept of green ports, and recommendations for the way forward. It contextualizes the status of port development and operations in the Western Indian Ocean region in terms of current and potential future effects on the coastal marine environment.
The Scenario Analysis aims to provide insights into potential future developments in port development in the WIO region and to inform decision-making by stakeholders. The Toolkit for Green Port Development will help ports become more sustainable by integrating environmental considerations into all stages of planning, design, construction, operations, and monitoring. The Toolkit includes various tools for each stage, such as guidance on environmental impact assessment, circular economy in ports, and ballast water management. Port operators can gradually implement these provisions in the toolkit to improve their environmental sustainability. Ideally, the Green Port Toolkit should be adopted and embedded in national policies for sustainable port management.
Reiterating his support and enthusiasm about this initiative, Dr. Jared Bosire, the WIOSAP project manager noted that “greening Western Indian Ocean’s ports will maintain their competitiveness globally while promoting safety, efficiency, and most importantly, sustainability.”
Additionally, Dr.Susan Taljaard, Principal Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, mentioned that “the aim of the project is to encourage the sustainable development of ports in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. The project will present a policy brief to Nairobi Convention Contracting Parties with recommendations for sustainable port development.”
The policy brief will be formulated to suggest policy and management recommendations for ensuring sustainable development of ports. This brief will serve as a basis for creating a toolkit that outlines best practices for green port development in the WIO region, covering all aspects from port location to construction and operation, with a view to reducing environmental harm. It is vital that port management authorities in the region are closely involved in this process to ensure industry concerns are adequately addressed.
This meeting was organized by Nairobi Convention’s WIOSAP project, whose goal is to improve and maintain the environmental health of the region’s coastal and marine ecosystems through improved management of land-based stresses. The WIOSAP project has commissioned the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR, South Africa) as the lead technical partner, while the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) has been playing the crucial role of stakeholders’ coordination. Other partners include the Western Indian Ocean Marine science association (WIOMSA) and Macquarie University (Australia).
For more information about the project, contact Jared Bosire – email@example.com