unctad.org | Multi-year expert meeting on transport and trade facilitation
Multi-year expert meeting on transport and trade facilitation
16 - 18 February 2009

Key Issues

Maritime transport and the climate change challenge
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With more than 80 per cent of global trade in goods (by volume) carried by sea, international maritime transport plays a key role in world trade and globalization. Access to cost-effective maritime transport services remains one of the key imperatives for developing countries, especially for landlocked developing countries that face additional challenges in connection with transit transport. Like other economic sectors, international maritime transport is confronted by climate change and its implications.

Compelling scientific evidence and a better understanding of the potential economic impacts of climate change have moved the issue to the forefront of the international agenda. A Conference under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in December 2007 in Bali to launch negotiations on a post-Kyoto agreement. Set to conclude in December 2009, these negotiations provide a renewed opportunity for the international community to undertake meaningful commitments to address climate change.

Possible measures to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping are being considered, both at the regulatory and industry levels. At the same time, the effects of climate change and their implications for maritime transport, as well as their impact on access to cost-efficient and sustainable international transport services, need to be properly understood to ensure that appropriate adaptation measures are taken. This is particularly relevant for the most vulnerable countries, namely the least developed countries (LDCs), the landlocked least developed countries (LLDCs) and the small island developing states (SIDS).

Against this background, the Expert Meeting provides a platform for the exchange of views and experiences, both to improve understanding of the implications of climate change for maritime transport and to help contribute substantively to discussions on possible regulatory options under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the UNFCCC process. Related cross-cutting issues, in particular financing, technology and energy security, will also be considered.

Discussions at the meeting are expected to contribute to the debate on the appropriate format, scope and content of a potential new regulatory regime on GHG emissions from international maritime transport, as well as the economic and policy implications of different mitigation measures for the trade competitiveness of developing countries. The discussions are also expected to help, inter alia, in:

  • Assessing the potential impacts of climate change and their implications for transportation systems, in particular ports and ships.

  • Improving understanding of required adaptation measures, particularly with a view to the needs of developing countries.

  • Exploring the potential for synergies between transport and trade facilitation measures and climate policy, including in relation to technology.

  • Identifying current climate change-driven cooperation mechanisms between maritime industry stakeholders and exploring their potential relevance for developing countries.

  • Outlining best practices in terms of mechanisms used to integrate climate change considerations into transportation policy, related land use planning, as well as infrastructure investment decisions and development strategies.

Input from experts

Experts nominated by member States are encouraged to submit brief papers (approximately five pages) as contributions to the work of the meeting.

The papers should be submitted to the UNCTAD secretariat in advance of the meeting.

The papers will be made available at the meeting in the form and language in which they are received.

Submit papers to:

Ms. Wendy Juan
UNCTAD secretariat
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10

F.: +41 22 9170050
E.: wendy.juan@unctad.org



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(TD/B/C.I/MEM.1/Inf.1) - 02/03/2009 - 9 Pages - 58 KB
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(TD/B/C.I/MEM.1/2) - 08/12/2008 - 17 Pages - 144 KB
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13/02/2009 - 4 Pages - 73 KB
(TD/B/C.I/MEM.1/1) - 03/12/2008 - 3 Pages - 50 KB
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The Trade and Development Board, at its fifty-fifth session, approved the terms of reference (TOR) for a Multi-year Expert Meeting on Transport and Trade Facilitation. In accordance with the TOR, the first session of the multi-year expert meeting will focus on one of the important emerging global issues affecting transportation, namely climate change and its implications for maritime transport.

The Expert Meeting will be held from 16 to 18 February 2009 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, in room XXVI. It will be opened at 10 a.m. on Monday, 16 February.


Member States of UNCTAD are requested to nominate experts at an early date and not later than 2 February 2009.

Experts, who will participate in the meeting in a personal capacity, are expected to have proven expertise in the subject and may be selected from government and non-governmental organizations, private sector or academia.

Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies wishing to participate in the meeting, as well as non-governmental organizations in the general category and those in the special category wishing to participate as observers, are requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives by 2 February 2009.

Financial assistance

Depending on the availability of funding in the Trust Fund for Financing the Participation of Experts at the time, funds may be made available to finance the participation of a limited number of officially nominated experts from developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Governments requiring funding are therefore invited to explicitly request financing in their letters of nomination. The decision as to which experts should receive financing will be based on the principle of equitable geographical representation; needs of beneficiaries, in particular LDCs; and the expertise of the experts concerned. Changes in nominated experts will be considered as new nominations.

Nominations with requests for financing should be received no later than 23 January 2009 and should be accompanied by the following information about the nominee:

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Mailing address

  • Telephone and fax number

  • E-mail address

  • Name of a contact person in the Permanent Mission in Geneva

It should be noted in this connection that once the list of experts to be financed has been finalized, all travel arrangements will be made in accordance with United Nations rules and regulations, although use of the least costly fare will be authorized.

Background documents and contributed papers

The provisional agenda for the meeting, together with the secretariat´s annotations thereto, will be circulated as document TD/B/C.I/MEM.1/1. In order to facilitate the discussion, the UNCTAD secretariat has prepared a background note, entitled "Maritime Transport and the Climate Change Challenge" which will be circulated as TD/B/C.I/MEM.1/2.

Experts are encouraged to prepare and submit brief papers related to their studies, findings and/or country´s experience. These papers will be made available to the meeting in the form and language in which they are received.

Papers should be submitted by 30 January 2009 and addressed to Ms. Wendy Juan, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, fax +41 22 9170050; e-mail: wendy.juan@unctad.org.


Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badges at the United Nations Security Service, Pregny Gate entrance, 14 avenue de la Paix. The Security Service is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (non-stop). Because of the security measures in force, participants are strongly advised to arrive before 9 a.m. in order to complete entry procedures in good time and proceed to the meeting in the E-Building (Bâtiment E) of the Palais. Participants are requested to carry a passport or similar national identity card with them. Taxis are not allowed to enter the grounds of the Palais des Nations, and visitors will therefore be dropped off at the requested entrance gates. Furthermore, luggage may not be brought into the buildings unless the Security Service gives special clearance.

Nominations and enquiries

Nominations and related communications concerning representation at the meeting should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Support Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; fax: +41 22 917 0214; e-mail: meetings@unctad.org.

All other enquiries concerning substantive issues should be addressed to the coordinators in the substantive division (tel: +41 22 917 2043; fax: +41 22 917 0050; e-mail: regina.asariotis@unctad.org or hassiba.benamara@unctad.org.


Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
6 January 2009


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