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Net-zero plan must consider welfare of seafarers–DENR

Net-zero plan must consider welfare of seafarers–DENR
Jonathan L. Mayuga November 16, 2022

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) underscored the need for equitable consideration in planning the global shipping industry’s transition to a decarbonized future.

DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga who heads the Philippine delegation to COP27, was 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.

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 numbers of women in senior management positions globally.

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 highlighted 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 noted that the Philippines is the world’s largest supplier of labor in the shipping industry with 1 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 work force, she added.

The environment chief noted that out of the over $30 billion in inward remittances annually, approximately $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.

She 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.

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

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