All posts by John Alonso

Voices of Impact: Speaking for the Global Commons

UNDP-GEF_Voices of Impact_25years_2016The experience of the GloBallast Partnerships has been featured in the new publication from UNDP celebrating the 25th anniversary of its partnerships with the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Mr. Shaj Thayil, chairman of the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) Task Force, reviewed the achievements and the influence of this innovative public-private partnership created under GloBallast to assist in finding common solutions to address ballast water issues, including new technologies, along with capacity-building activities to benefit the participating private sector companies.

The full publication can be accessed through this link. 

New publication from the GloBallast Partnerships

Proceedings Canada front pageThe GloBallast Partnerships has published the Proceedings of the 6th R&D Forum and Exhibition, held in Montreal, Canada, from 16 to 18 March 2016.  This publication arrives at a timely moment when the BWM Convention has only recently met its entry into force criteria, following the accession from Finland.

This edition of the R&D Forum made a positive contribution towards maintaining the global momentum to find optimal solutions to diminish the threats from the transfer of marine invasive species through ships’ ballast water and sediments.

The Proceedings include all the opening addresses and the keynote presentations delivered during the first day of the Forum. The bulk of the publication contains a selection of the papers and reflects the global interest in an issue of critical importance for preserving marine and coastal biodiversity.

To access the Proceedings click on the image or here.

Global treaty to halt invasive aquatic species to enter into force in 2017

Capture four logos

Press Release

8 September 2016

International community rallies to address major threat to oceans

Global treaty to halt invasive aquatic species to enter into force in 2017

Accession by Finland has triggered the entry into force of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention on 8 September 2017. The BWM Convention is a key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species through ships’ ballast water.

Each year, large shipping vessels transport an estimated 5 billion tonnes of ballast water across the world’s oceans; on occasion, organisms transported in the ballast water both survive the journey and establish footholds in their new environments as ‘invasive species’, disrupting both marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Under the BWM Convention, officially known as the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within their ballast water and sediments

This major milestone coincides with the upcoming completion of the GloBallast Partnerships Project of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is approaching its final months of implementation and starting to review its achievements.

Congratulating the IMO and all the other partners involved, GEF CEO and Chairperson, Naoko Ishii, said, “The fact that the BWM Convention will enter into force is the result of a long-term productive partnership between GEF, IMO, UNDP and a suite of partners. Its implementation will be instrumental in battling invasive aquatic species, and will lead to healthier marine ecosystems that positively impact both economic opportunity and the livelihoods of millions of people across the globe. Ultimately, the entry into force of the BWM Convention is simply good news for the global environment,” she said.

“The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will not only minimize the risk of invasions by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

Andrew Hudson, Head, UNDP Water & Ocean Governance Programme stated: “The coming into force of the global Ship’s Ballast Water Management Convention represents a tremendous milestone for sustainable human development. Invasive species represent one of the most serious threats to aquatic ecosystems and, once established, are virtually impossible to eradicate. By putting in place a stringent global mechanism that should dramatically reduce ship-mediated invasive species risk, the Convention will in turn reduce the significant economic damage, lost livelihoods and human health impacts often caused by invasive species. As the GEF Agency overseeing GloBallast for almost 20 years, UNDP takes great pride in this achievement and the catalytic role the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Programme has played in bringing the Convention to this historic moment”.

GloBallast Partnerships dates back to 2000, when IMO joined forces with GEF, UNDP, member governments and the shipping industry to assist less-industrialised countries to tackle the ballast water problem. The transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens between marine ecosystems through ships’ ballast water and sediments is one of the greatest threats to the world’s coastal and marine environments and one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the global shipping industry.

With a relatively small investment by the GEF (USD12M), GloBallast Partnerships has become a flagship transformational project of the GEF, UNDP and IMO which has supported and promoted the development of uniform legal, policy and institutional frameworks in several developing countries, and has undertaken a major capacity-building programme in over 70 countries. GloBallast has also established a unique public-private partnership, the Global Industry Alliance for Marine Biosecurity (GIA), to catalyze and promote new technological solutions to serve a ballast water treatment technology market valued at USD 30-50 billion.

The ultimate aim of the Globallast Project is to protect marine ecosystems, and the sectors and livelihoods that depend upon them, from negative impacts of invasive species, estimated at USD 100 billion per year. Marine bio-invasions are the source of significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts. As well as the reduction in fisheries production due to competition or predation, there have also been recorded impacts on aquaculture and coastal infrastructure. Marine bio-invasions can jeopardize the development of a tourism industry, for example through physical fouling of beaches and severe odours from algal blooms. This can threaten efforts made to provide solutions for poverty alleviation in coastal communities.

Currently, half of the Pilot and Lead Partnering Countries of the GloBallast Project have already ratified the BWM Convention, a truly significant contribution to the entry into force of this landmark global environmental treaty.

The BWM Convention was adopted in 2004 by the member states of IMO, the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for developing global standards for ship safety and security and for the protection of the marine environment and the atmosphere from any harmful impacts of shipping. Under the convention’s terms, all ships in international trade will have to manage their ballast water and sediments to certain standards, according to a ship-specific ballast water management plan. With the recent accession, the Convention will enter into force on 8 September 2017.

____________

Examples of invasive species are the North American comb jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi), the Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and the North Pacific seastar (Asterias amurensis). Further information and other examples are listed here.

Further information on the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast project can be found on http://globallast.imo.org

The Project also has a learning portal that can be accessed on http://globallastlearning.com/login/index.php

For further information
IMO Media:
Lee Adamson, Head, Public Information Services on 020 7587 3153 (media@imo.org)
Natasha Brown, Media and Communications Officer on 020 7587 3274 (media@imo.org).
GEF Media:
Christian Hofer, Senior Communications Officer, GEF, chofer@thegef.org
@theGEF #GlobalCommons

IMO social media sites:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/imohq

Twitter: http://twitter.com/imohq you can also find us: @imohq

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/IMOHQ

GloBallast Partnerships finalist for Lloyd’s List Asian Awards

Following the recent achievement at the prestigious Lloyd’s List Global Awards, GloBallast Partnerships have now been also shortlisted as a finalist for the HPH Trust Safer Cleaner Seas Award at the Lloyd’s List Asian Awards .   The Awards showcase and reward the best talent and achievements in shipping over the last year in Asia and will be hosted at the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, on Thursday 20 October.

GloBallast BWM pilot course in Panama

The International Maritime University of Panama (UMIP), in cooperation with the Maritime Authority of Panama (AMP), the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) and GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Partnerships, conducted a pilot course on Ballast Water Management (BWM) Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement (CME). This pilot course will enable UMIP to deliver the course in the future to prepare Flag and Port State Control Officers in accordance with the provisions of the BWM Convention. More information can be found in AMP’s press release.

GloBallast Partnerships finalist for Lloyd’s List Global Award

After its recent success at the 8th International Waters Conference, the GloBallast Partnerships has been shortlisted as a finalist from the nominations for the prestigious Lloyd’s List Global Awards, in the category of  Environment. The Lloyd’s List Global Awards showcase and reward the best talent and achievements in shipping over the last year. The awards are a vibrant celebration of the key players in global shipping and are recognised worldwide as a significant mark of success.

GloBallast Partnerships wins international award

A team from IMO’s Marine Environment Division has won the best Portfolio Solution Award in the 8th International Waters Conference (IWC8) organized by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Negombo, Sri Lanka (9-13 May). The award was given for the project with the best strategy for scaling-up investments aimed at addressing global environmental issues facing international waters, including the oceans. International waters is one of the five thematic portfolios of GEF funding, with around 90 related projects being featured at IWC8 and some 300 currently underway worldwide. IMO’s team presented the “Glo-X” partnerships model, based on the GloBallast Partnerships Programme.  Glo-X is being used to accelerate legal, policy and institutional reforms in developing countries to implement the international conventions while, at the same time, leveraging private sector partnerships to accelerate R&D and technological innovations through forming global industry alliances and facilitating information exchange. GloBallast’s winning entry was selected from a large number of submissions made by GEF International Waters Projects and the award was based on oral presentations from the final eight nominees. A liveblog is available with some of the discussions of the conference.

Experts discuss implementing Ballast Water Management Convention

An IMO-GloBallast expert workshop dealing with risk assessment and decision support tools to support the implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention is taking place at IMO Headquarters, London (25-26 April). 12 renowned international experts are discussing so-called “risk-based decision support systems” for improved implementation of the Convention. This comes as part of IMO’s efforts, under the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Partnerships Programme, to counter the threat to ecosystems by invasive species transported in the ballast water of ships.

The experts are drawn from the fields of information technology, risk assessment, marine ecosystems protection, maritime operations and Marine Electronic Information system integration. The workshop aims to provide a set of recommendations on the feasibility and requirements of such a decision-support system (with consideration for the capacity constraints in developing countries) and on how to apply such a system on a regional or global level.

Inauguration of 6th GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast R&D Forum

Some 140 participants at the 6th Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Program (UNDP)-IMO GloBallast R&D Forum and Exhibition on Ballast Water Management (16-18 March) under the banner “Ballast Water Management Convention – moving towards implementation” and will share knowledge and experience on treatment technologies and alternative methods and highlight current research. Compliance monitoring and enforcement including sampling and analysis will also be discussed.

The Forum, which brings together scientific experts and academia with the maritime industry and leaders in technology development for ships’ ballast water management, was launched by Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Canada.  IMO’s Stefan Micallef, Director, Marine Environment Division, delivered an opening speech. Mr Micallef stated that the Ballast Water Management Convention needed to enter into force for effective implementation of its provisions. But he highlighted the huge amount of collaborative work which had been undertaken since the first GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast R&D forum 15 years ago, leading to a great deal of progress in the BWM field in terms of testing and approval of ballast water management systems, ballast water sampling and analysis, and the availability of ballast water management systems.

Ballast water system testers meet

The Global Ballast Water Test Organizations Network (GloBal TestNet) has been meeting in Montreal, Canada. GloBal TestNet launched its website and elected a new steering committee, while discussing further ways of collaboration amongst its members.

GloBal TestNet, which was formally established in 2013 with 16 signatories to a Memorandum of Understanding, aims to increase levels of standardization, transparency and openness in testing ballast water management systems.  This is intended to benefit test facility clients as well as the end-users of ballast water treatment technologies: the ship owners who need  cost-effective and environmentally-friendly systems  to meet the requirements of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention), 2004, which is close to reaching entry into force requirements.

The formation of GloBal TestNet has been supported by the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) of the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Partnerships Programme. GloBal TestNet gathers organizations involved in the generation of data from land-based and/or shipboard testing for the certification of ballast water management systems, under the 2004 BWM Convention and relevant Guidelines or other test protocols.