Statement by Minister of Works Papalii Niko Lee Hang at IMO General Assembly


IMO Headquarters, London 25th November to 5th December 2019

Statement by the Hon. Papaliitele Niko Lee Hang Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure of Samoa

Madam President,
Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization,
Honourable Ministers,
Delegates and Observers,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The Independent State of Samoa congratulates you on your appointment as President of the Thirty-first Regular Session of the IMO Assembly. We look forward to your leadership and guidance to steer our deliberations on issues and challenges facing our global maritime industry.
We acknowledge the ongoing work of the IMO in maritime safety, security and the protection of the marine environment as well as the contributions by our development partners in the improvement of safety at sea, particularly in hydrographic services and aids to navigation. These highlight the paramount importance of addressing issues of maritime safety and the protection of life.
As a Small Island Developing State, our regional and national aspirations are centred on the provision of sustainable, reliable and safe transportation in order to address our vulnerabilities reflective of the special case of SIDs. The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent endorsed this year at the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting focuses on sustainable transportation as one of the key areas to promote and enhance regionalism.
Madam President,
I am pleased to inform member states that Samoa recently became a member of the International Hydrographic Organization. Samoa is committed to enhancing safety at sea and the protection of the right of safety for all at sea. Recently, hydrographic surveys were completed for Samoa and as such, we can expect our nautical charts to be updated and modernised to ensure safety of navigation.
The Pacific Regional Marine Spill Contingency Plan 2030 (PACPLAN) is enhanced by the support of New Zealand and Australia. Under the PACPLAN, Samoa developed its own National Plan on Oil Spill Response of which we will be the recipient of oil clean-up equipment kindly donated by Maritime New Zealand as well as opportunities to train our port personnel in the use and application of the oil clean-up equipment. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of preparedness for disasters such as an oil spill within our waters. The ramifications would severely harm the health of our ocean, our marine and coastal environment, with many years to recover.
Madam President
We are not without challenges but with a clear direction and strong leadership, Samoa’s maritime industry has enjoyed a few milestones and achievements. These have emanated from our nationally determined contributions pledged under the Paris Agreement. Our vulnerability to the impacts of climate change have been heard and it will be no different today, that we call upon member states of the IMO to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible consistent with a no more than 1.5 degree Celsius pathway.
In our ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, several activities are progressing well towards the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency alternatives. With respect to maritime transport, one of our inter- island ferries has been retrofitted with solar panels to generate electricity when in port. It is estimated that this will save approximately 17% of operating costs. This is a significant milestone for our country in that it is the pathway to ensuring energy efficiency on our domestic vessels. We are appreciative of the Global Maritime Technology Cooperation network for their investment in promoting energy efficiency in the maritime sector and to navigate shipping towards a low-carbon future.
Samoa has also progressed on the Green Port Development project for more energy efficiency. The implementation of our NDCs will be through enhanced and durable partnerships in financing low-carbon technology, capacity building initiatives and building resilient structures.
Madam President
For the Pacific including Samoa, climate change is the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific and our commitment to progress the implementation of the Paris Agreement. It has impacted on our human, economic, social and environmental security. In response, the Framework for Pacific Resilience has been developed as the roadmap to progress to climate resilience infrastructure and reducing emissions from ships. Samoa calls on member states of the IMO to adopt and implement measures which will achieve greenhouse gas emissions reduction in line with the target we have all agreed to in the Initial Strategy.
At the September Pacific Regional Energy and Maritime Transport Ministers meeting hosted by Samoa, Ministers endorsed regional priorities in respect of the right to safety for all at sea; the responsibilities by flag states over their ships; the need for resources to ensure safety of navigation at sea to avoid marine casualties and pollution; low carbon maritime development in the Pacific region requiring accurate data, policies, law, technology and finance to be able to implement our nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. Samoa has also committed to decreasing our domestic maritime transport emissions by 40% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 as part of the Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership which was recognised by the region’s maritime transport Ministers.
More importantly, there is a critical need for capacity development and a people-centred approach in the maritime industry to be able to understand new technologies under greenhouse gas emissions and low carbon maritime transport. A key development in this regard, is to implement actions under the Regional Strategy for Pacific Women in Maritime, emphasising the key role of women in maritime and their contribution to the shipping, ports and administrative roles in maritime. Samoa urges member states to facilitate the participation, recognition, visibility and capacity building of women in maritime to ensure no one is left behind.
Madam President,
I am pleased to inform this Assembly that Samoa is considering endorsement of the Cape Town Agreement 2012. Recently, Samoa was represented at the Ministerial Conference, where we highlighted the need for an international framework to ensure fishing vessels comply with safety standards for fishing operations as well as deterring illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in our national waters and the Pacific region. We have seen the inevitable growth in numbers of foreign fishing vessels at our international port which must comply with regulations set for fishing vessels greater than 24m.
Madam President
Our Pacific Leaders endorsed the Blue Pacific Continent concept which recognises that we are large ocean states and stewards of our Pacific ocean. As such, it is incumbent that measures and standards are implemented and enforced on those ships that continue to flout the rule of law governing shipping. It is in this regard that we would like to reiterate strongly, that Samoa is, and continues to be a closed registry. There have been many unfavourable reports of ships illegally using our flag which must be dealt with by the full force of law by coastal and port states.
In conclusion Madam President, my delegation supports an IMO regional presence in the Pacific region. The visibility of IMO in the Pacific region would build on existing partnerships and technical cooperation programs of the UN and its specialised agencies in our Blue Pacific region. Samoa calls on the IMO to pay special attention in the design of country-specific technical cooperation programs based on national priorities and a consistent deployment of contextualized global projects.
The UN System has three sub-regional offices in the Pacific. My Government has already extended an invitation to UN agencies not represented in Samoa or the Pacific to join the One UN House in Samoa – this reinforces what we as Small Island Developing States have repeatedly called on the UN to do: to deliver better together, and to establish more genuine and durable partnerships to innovate the way we work together.
On behalf of my delegation, we thank the people and the City of London for your warm hospitality.
Thank you.
God Bless.