Press Release/Declarations

African Ports Commit to Collaborative Partnerships on their Environmental & Sustainability Development

African ports have successfully ended their 3rd African Ports Environmental & Sustainability Conference under the theme ‘African Ports & the Sustainable Development Nexus’ held in Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo, from 11–13 February 2020. The conference, organized by the Ports Environmental Network-Africa (PENAf), Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA), and Port Authority of Pointe Noire (PAPN) drew participants from various African countries, USA, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, France and Netherlands. The participants represented governments, port authorities, terminal operators, businesses, international finance organisations, consultants and experts to deliberate and exchange knowledge, experience and best practices on port sustainability. The Deputy Netherlands Ambassador for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) participated as Special Guest of Honour in a demonstration of Netherlands’ interest and support of PENAf’s Initiative on International Collaboration for the sustainable development of African ports.

The three day conference had insightful presentations and deliberations on case studies of environmental & sustainability management in African ports; international marine environmental agreements; implementation & enforcement of international waste shipment regulations; port waste management & reception facilities for ships’ waste; oil spill response; air quality monitoring in ports; ecoport tools & certification; green products; digital tools for sustainable and smart ports; women in port sustainability; human development for sustainable ports; role of private terminal operators in the sustainable development of African ports; climate mitigation & adaptation by ports; financing for sustainable port development.

Together, the executive and practitioners’ forums featured at the conference deliberated interactively on common understanding and approach for establishing and prioritising sustainable development as an agenda for African ports, and how to initiate the implementation of an effective environmental & sustainability management in African ports. The forums agreed on priority issues including ballast water management, water and air quality, port waste management, reception facilities for ships’ waste, hazardous & electronic waste shipment, ecoports certification, training & education on port sustainability, emergency oil spill response, digital tools, coastal erosion, flooding, and ship wreck.

The conference reviewed the partners collaborating on the Sustainable African Port Initiative (SAPI) – PENAf, PMAWCA, Human Environment & Transport Inspectorate of Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Amsterdam, Shipping & Transport College Group, Erasmus University Centre for Urban, Port & Transport Economics – to include the WACA project of the World Bank Group, IMPEL, Euroshore & Cabinet Industry Consulting.

The Port Management Association for West & Central Africa (PMAWCA) endorsed and confirmed its
commitment to the Sustainable African Port Initiative. Pursuant to a pragmatic implementation of the initiative, the conference recommended that PMAWCA organises with PENAf to visit Director Generals of all member ports to do a profiling of each port and enumerate their priority issues; PMAWCA establishes a committee of experts for port environmental sustainability within its Council to be chaired by the Director General of Port Authority of Pointe Noire; PMAWCA establishes a technical committee on environment & sustainability and institutionalise a network of nvironmental focal points as a platform for information sharing & best practice exchange; environmental and sustainability epartments of African ports be empowered with relevant training, knowledge and skills to be effective in their role for promoting port stainable development; a harmonised regulatory and policy framework for port environmental sustainability to be developed; funding sources for tudies on environmental status of African ports, research on the implementation of sustainable development goals, concrete ollaborative projects in African ports to be identified; common environmental issues and a commonality spectrum and benchmark for ackling them across african ports be determined; African port authorities make financial commitment and budget allocation for environment and sustainable development; stakeholder engagement between port authorities and environmental protection ministries and agencies, maritime administrations and shipping authorities be promoted; active participation of African ports in regional economic communities as Abidjan Convention and IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee be promoted; common approach for providing port peception facilities in member ports be adopted; ecoport tools and certification be adopted by member ports to promote and support common benchmarking and inclusion in global port sustainability network; the African ports sustainability initiative takes cognisance of local content and Africa Union’s maritime programmes such as AIM Strategy 2050 and NEPAD Blue Economy.

Implementation of the recommendations will be pursued via approval by the 40th Council Meeting of PMAWCA to be held in Luanda, Angola, in June 2020. In the meantime, discussions and negotiations will commence among collaborative partners and member ports on concrete programmes of action based on priorities identified by the ports and matched to the competence of the collaborative partners. The collaborative partners will also meet to identify and set out benchmarks for the individual programmes of action. All programmes of action will be integrated to connect them and coordinated under the Sustainable African Ports Initiative.

All participants agreed that the conference was successful and exceeded their expectations in ways that demonstrated that there is a new wave of environmental & sustainability interest and commitment blowing in African ports with the understanding that working together is the way to go. The Special Guest, Marion van Shaick, Deputy Netherlands Ambassador to the DRC remarked that ‘I am pleased to see such high level of participation and interest in port sustainability in this part of the world’. She congratulated African ports for having such plans towards concrete sustainability steps.

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