The UN highlighted the role of the shipping industry in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on World Maritime Day, which focused on the theme, ‘Shipping: indispensable to the world.' Also on sustainable shipping, UN Environment organized a national training workshop on ‘Combating Illegal Trade in Chemicals and Waste' in Malaka, Malaysia, to increase institutional and individual capacity to combat illegal trade and strengthen cooperation between customs and other authorities.
3 October 2016: The UN highlighted the role of the shipping industry in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on World Maritime Day, which focused on the theme, ‘Shipping: indispensable to the world.’ Also on sustainable shipping, UN Environment organized a national training workshop on ‘Combating Illegal Trade in Chemicals and Waste’ in Malaka, Malaysia, to increase institutional and individual capacity to combat illegal trade and strengthen cooperation between customs and other authorities.
In a message for World Maritime Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “the importance of shipping in supporting and sustaining today’s global society makes it indispensable to the world and to meeting the challenge of the 2030 Agenda.” He explained shipping helps to more evenly spread the benefits of commerce and trade. Ban also highlighted the shipping industry’s contribution to improving global living standards and lifting millions of people out of poverty, underscoring the sector’s importance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim highlighted the role of shipping in “translating the momentum generated by [the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change] into tangible improvements in the lives of people.” He described ships’ role in supporting the global economy and international trade, explaining that ships are now much more technically advanced, safer and environment-friendly. To ensure that everyone enjoys the benefits of globalization, Lim said “all countries must be able to play a full and active part in shipping,” explaining that maritime trade and seafaring careers contribute to sustainable economic growth, employment, prosperity and stability.
At the national level, the workshop in Malaysia focused on addressing illegal trade in chemicals and waste, an action addressed under SDG target 12.4, which aims to, by 2020, “achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks and significantly reduce their release to air, water and oil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.” The workshop discussed, inter alia: how illegal waste enters the country; how to intercept ships carrying illegal waste before they arrive in Malaysia; and options for distinguishing legal and illegal shipments.
Malaysia receives containers with hazardous waste, such as contaminated plastics and metals, electronic waste, oily parts of discarded vehicles and other waste that is shipped from Europe and other areas for disposal or recycling, according to GRID-ARENDAL, which observes that transnational trade of such contaminated waste is banned. Approximately 25% of all global goods pass through the Strait of Malacca in Malaysia, with the port of Klang receiving over 10 million containers annually. “Malaysia is one of the destination countries for illegal waste shipments,” said Ieva Rucevska, GRID-Arendal. “There have been a number of seizures of illegal shipments containing hazardous waste, but the country lacks important knowledge and a way to implement existing regulations to combat the illegal waste trade and to repatriate illegal shipments.”
UN Environment organized the workshop with the support of GRID-Arendal, the European Union’s (EU) Environmental Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Facility and the Royal Malaysian Customs Academy. [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General Statement] [IMO Secretary-General Statement] [IMO Website on World Maritime Day] [GRID-Arendal Press Release]