Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga emphasized the need for equitable consideration in planning the decarbonization of the global shipping industry during the sidelines of the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

“Crafting the framework of energy transition in the shipping industry should make equity the foundation of the plan and implementation,” said Loyzaga, head of the Philippine delegation to COP27 and one of the panelists in the forum, “Delivering a Just Transition in Global Shipping,” organized by the International Labor Organization and United Nations Global Impact last November 9.

The forum highlighted key actions to fully decarbonize international shipping by 2050 in line with the agenda of COP27 to provide clear pathways for parties and stakeholders to meet the Paris Agreement in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It also underscored the crucial requirement in upskilling and reskilling maritime workers to gain additional skills from which energy transition will demand, such as in terms of new technologies and global standards.

Loyzaga pointed out that the Philippines is the world’s largest supplier of labor in the shipping industry with one million Filipinos certified with a Seaman’s Book and approximately 400,000 Filipino seafarers at sea at any one time. Filipino nuclear and extended families depending on this livelihood could possibly be as many as 10 times of this workforce, she added.

The environment chief noted that out of the over US$30 billion in inward remittances annually, approximately US$ 6 billion is contributed by the professional maritime sector.

“This is the magnitude of social considerations that need to be factored in the decarbonization of the shipping industry.” Loyzaga said.

Loyzaga said the impact of energy transition must ensure that the welfare and interests of seafarers are at the core of the discussion towards decision-making.

She likewise suggested embedding not only upskilling and reskilling, but also the inclusion of stronger fundamentals in basic education.

Loyzaga said the impact of changing atmosphere-ocean dynamics due to climate change must also be considered in the shipping operations, as well as ensuring health and safety of seafarers in the course of the implementation.

A just transition plan, she said, should also promote gender inclusion and diversity, noting that women compose 39% percent of the Philippine labor force and that the country has one of the highest number of women in senior managerial positions globally.

The forum convened heads of the United Nations bodies, state ministers, trade unions, industry and civil society. ###