At COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the UN High Level Climate Champions announced a comprehensive set of 2030 Breakthroughs for the shipping sector.
The Maritime Resilience Breakthroughs Lab: Resilience4Ports is the first Innovation Lab launched by Resilience Rising, tapping into its global, multi-sector consortium of policy makers, engineers, businesses, financiers, and infrastructure owners and operators. It will reinforce ports as a leading global example of a just and equitable, net-zero transition that prioritizes and effectively implements resilience.
Through the Maritime Resilience Breakthrough Lab, we aim to mobilize a critical mass to create the scale and momentum necessary to break through the industry’s barriers to resilience. The program will improve the resilience practice across the ports value chain by bringing together stakeholders and a community of practitioners around a common framework to raise awareness and strengthen relationships, create a shared understanding of the needs and challenges, and clarify and connect decision-making and investment that can be taken to scale.
Ports connect people and supply chains, protect and enhance the environment, and provide opportunities for people to thrive. As such, their reliability and performance are essential to the flourishing of the economy, and society at large. Yet ports face cumulative pressure from climate change, geopolitical uncertainty, decarbonisation challenges, technological disruption, and the urgent need for social and environmental equity. The disruptive forces that ports are exposed to and must respond to will increase in frequency, severity and complexity over time. Ports must be prepared for future threats and be able to respond to those we cannot predict or avoid – a shift to resilience.
However, resilience is often not a critical driver in planning of new or upgrades to existing ports. Furthermore, beneficiaries of port resilience are broad, often making a narrow business-case for port owners challenging. Action on port resilience requires an overarching view, working across silos and boundaries of an often complex and fragmented series of systems. In an increasingly complex and uncertain world, port resilience is essential to business continuity, but also to the communities and sectors that ports connect. Port cities need resilient, low carbon gateways to prosper.
Many actors are working to improve aspects of the sector’s resilience. High-impact solutions are emerging. Unlocking resilience will require a whole value chain and whole system approach, going beyond the adaptation of physical infrastructure to shape people, processes and nature. By bringing these actors together, giving them sight of the essential and connected roles that other stakeholders in the value chain are playing, and articulating what they are set to gain both individually and collectively, we can catalyse action at the scale to meet the challenges we face.
Maritime breakthrough goals
Maritime shipping, responsible for transporting 90 percent of global trade, provides a crucial link between communities and the global supply networks needed to support health, well-being and livelihoods. Yet maritime infrastructure is increasingly exposed to shocks and stresses, and the risk of highly consequential disruptions in service.
Urgent adaptation is needed. COP27 marked a turning point in maritime shipping’s race to resilience. In Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the UN High Level Climate Champions announced a comprehensive set of 2030 Breakthroughs for the shipping sector including a set of port-specific resilience breakthroughs. Accelerating the pace and scale of the resilience transition will require a consolidated action agenda. The Maritime Resilience Breakthroughs are, therefore, targeted not only at building resilience in port systems themselves, but also ensuring that actions taken to enhance the resilience of the maritime sector positively support coastal communities and habitats, particularly the most vulnerable ones.
Through a coordinated global effort, across a wide-range of stakeholders who are involved in ideating, testing, and rapidly scaling of solutions, the following port-related resilience breakthroughs targets can be achieved by 2030, enabling a complete resilience transformation of global ports by 2050:
30% of global maritime trade moves through climate adapting ports, connecting people and supply chains, with a focus on benefitting the world’s most vulnerable regions.
Across regions, ports and their communities protect and enhance local coastal and ocean systems through nature-based solutions, to build port resilience and support thriving natural habitats.
Across regions, ports and their local communities implement equity-focused social programs including around green jobs and community infrastructure that enable thriving ports and port communities.
Through its Maritime Resilience Breakthroughs Lab: Resilience4Ports, Resilience Rising and its partners support unlocking these breakthroughs by 2030.
The Maritime Resilience Breakthroughs Lab: Resilience4Ports is the first Innovation Lab launched by Resilience Rising, tapping into its global, multi-sector consortium of policy makers, engineers, businesses, financiers, and infrastructure owners and operators.
Port resilience framework for action
There is no ‘silver bullet’ to achieve resilient ports. Actions are required across a range of dimensions, from an enabling political economy to operation of port assets, and by a broad group of stakeholders, from governments to port designers. The Port Resilience Framework for Action, developed in partnership with Arup, provides a line of sight for resilience from a policy level through to implementation at a port asset level. The actions are shaped to fit in and around the existing process by which new ports are realised and existing ports adapted and operated.
The framework describes ten goals – across three dimensions: economy and society; leadership and strategy; and infrastructure and ecosystems – that together can transform port performance.
Achieving port resilience will require action not just by the port sector, but by governments, investors, civil society and ports users/customers. These goals create an enabling platform for port resilience, reaching beyond the port boundary.
This area looks to align adaptation and resilience planning at a sector and port level, and between the range of actors involved in governing and operating a port. Port resilience requires a line of sight and consistency across government regulation, maritime sector strategies, port masterplans and port operators.
Port infrastructure includes physical assets, but also people, energy and digital elements and the processes that link them all together. Ports are also embedded within and rely upon natural systems. These goals recognise resilience through action at an asset-level.
The action areas have been shaped so that they can be refined into specific actions according to local context, to form the basis of port resilience agendas for action. They are essential components of this holistic approach. They are mutually supportive, and taken together, they can not only drive breakthroughs for port infrastructure but also achieve resilience benefits for coastal habitats and communities.
The framework is of course just the start. This provides an opportunity to bring together existing best practice across the sector, identify key gaps, and shape pilot projects for each goal. Ports, as gateways between ocean and terrestrial systems, are at the forefront of climate impacts – port actors understand the need to work with and not against nature. This makes the sector well placed to lead on the shift from risk management to holistic resilience.
Communities globally depend on resilient, low carbon ports to prosper. With our partners, we are exploring opportunities for resilient, system-wide, transformation through the lenses of decarbonisation, technology, and port cities.