First World Ports Sustainability Report calls to action

The 2020 World Ports Conference would have marked the publication of the first World Ports Sustainability Report, presenting the progress ports worldwide are making with the integration of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the achievements of the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP), which was launched two years ago. The report has now been published online. It follows the thematic structure of the World Ports Sustainability Program. Each chapter starts with an analysis of the projects that entered the WPSP Portfolio during the past two years. This is then followed by updates and insights derived from initiatives that are promoted under the WPSP Platform.

The first World Ports Sustainability Report shows that community outreach and port-city dialogue are on top of ports’ agendas worldwide. This is hardly surprising, given that ports are granted and maintain their license to operate and grow by their local communities. Climate and energy and resilient infrastructure also score relatively high, no doubt driven by political, societal and commercial pressures to embrace decarbonisation and digitalisation. Governance and ethics and safety and security would appear to be underdeveloped areas in need of more attention.

The other main conclusion of the report is also a call to action. The WPSP Portfolio and Platform are dominated by European projects and initiatives, followed at some distance by Asia and America. On the other hand, Oceania is punching above its weight, but Africa is hardly present at all. Overall, there are still nearly hundred IAPH member ports out there that have not submitted a single project to the WPSP Portfolio. There is therefore an urgent need to bring all ports up to speed. That is not just a matter of outreach and communication, but above all of training and coaching. That is the next step to take if we are serious about the ambition to develop global leadership of the ports industry in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations . . . .

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