Global Forum on Oceans

The Strategic Planning Workshop on Global Oceans Issues in Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction in the Context of Climate Change was held last week in Nice, France.


The Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands was created at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002, to advance the interests of the oceans - covering 72% of the Earth's surface - and the coasts - the home of 50% of the world's population.


The Global Forum brings together ocean leaders from governments, intergovernmental and international organisations, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, ocean donors, and scientific institutions, to achieve the sustainable development of oceans, coasts, and islands.


The Global Forum's major goals include acting as a catalyst to mobilise knowledge and resources, organisational action to advance the global oceans agenda and promote integrated oceans management, and working together with governments, international and intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, and others to effectively implement, at national and regional levels, major international agreements on oceans.


Erik Ranheim, Manager of INTERTANKO's Research and Project Section, gave a presentation on the maritime governance system, its environmental performance and its potential for improvement.


His main message was that shipping, unlike some other international industries, has effective regulations and powerful enforcement. He said that until recently attention had mainly been centred on pollution from accidental oil spills. These have been greatly reduced over the years and the focus is now on air emissions, since shipping is burning the bottom of the barrel, which has become dirtier as the refining processes for cleaner fuels have improved.


Shipping has become the biggest market for residual fuel oils. The production of heavy fuel oils (HFO) has been reduced from some 27% of the refinery output in 1965 to 12% in 2006, whereas the production of middle distillates has increased from 27% in 1965 to 37% in 2006. The burning of carbon fuels causes emissions of CO2. The heavier fuels cause emissions of sulphur, which contribute to increasing the acidity in the oceans. This is a threat to biodiversity in the oceans, on which our whole ecosystem depends.


Ranheim said that shipping needs an effective, global maritime governance and regulatory system in order to operate successfully and to give of its best. It was agreed in the Forum that the maritime sector was unique in this respect and that the Forum could learn from its systems and processes.


Appreciation was expressed that INTERTANKO participated to present the views of the shipping industry.


Ranheim's presentation can be viewed here or on INTERTANKO's web site under Intertanko Presentations.


Contact: Erik Ranheim