Port stakeholders step up to 2030 challenge

Riga Agenda 2030 will be officially ratified at AIVP's Riga event. Credit: AIVP
Industry Database

The organisation behind an ambitious global initiative to implement major environmental changes to achieve sustainability in port cities by 2030 faces one of its biggest challenges this year in co-ordinating how its many diverse participants can achieve change.

The worldwide network of port cities' (AIVP's) Agenda 2030 encompasses 10 commitments aligned to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which members of the organisation adopted in June 2018. These commitments affirm the City-Port-Citizen relationship as an ecosystem and aim to help members including ports, local authorities and other port industry stakeholders become more sustainable but developing an initiative with goals that will be of varying levels of priority and met in different ways by different members and at different paces is complex, stated AIVP's external strategic adviser.

Speaking exclusively to Port Strategy, José Sanchez said: One of the biggest challenges for AIVP will be coordinating how members work towards these goals, whether they will approach all commitments simultaneously or focus on some first over others.

"Not all goals are at the same level for all members. Some will be more active in climate change, others energy transition — such as with ports in Europe, and others more active in port city-specific goals. Every port city is different, therefore the topics and their urgency is different."

Different routes

Mirroring implementation of the SDGs, each member already has a history of developing specific actions towards these commitments and some commitments will depend on resources, some will require bigger investments than others, and some will complement each other making the process easier. Energy transition will depend on capacity of investment and access to modern technology, Mr Sanchez explained.

Some ports have been developing green energy production for some time, some are promoting citizen dialogue to improve the relationship and some have invested more into the transformation of the port city interface, he said.

Agenda 2030 has also evolved since it was first conceived. Changes in the last year have included more emphasis on climate change, circular economy and dialogue with other initiatives, like the World Ports Sustainability Program. There is also more emphasis on human capital.

Policy development

Work around Agenda 2030 will provide guidelines for AIVP's policy programme and focus going forward, as well as content that the organisation will produce at its events, including its Riga event in June, when Agenda 2030 will be officially ratified and presented to UN representative and keynote speaker Marco Kamiya.

The Riga conference, one of the annual "AIVP Days", will help act as an immediate checkpoint for development work amongst members. These events also allow AIVP to adapt its documents, for example, its guide of good practises, which is now accompanied by a new online platform enabling continuous contact with and between members, and where AIVP can focus its attention according to the work of its members.

AIVP's global conferences, held every two years, will help act as a benchmark for Agenda 2030. "Policy will be used according to how members are progressing and implementing different goals, to make sure certain goals aren't being left behind," said Mr Sanchez. Conferences will also include academic researchers help to assess actions with members. Some separate initiatives will be integrated into the agenda and linked to the SDGs' in coming months, he added.

Timescales for implementation of the commitments have to be considered in the framework of a global agenda. It's hard to set the same target for everyone because the scale and resources are quite different, and different geographical areas follow different rules, stressed Mr Sanchez.

"On a regional scale, industry leaders could set more specific goals within specific timeframes for ports. Though it would require a very complex assessment of the resources and priorities of the different ports and cities," he noted.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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