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UN Agencies join hands with private sector

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

The GloFouling Partnerships concluded today a ground-breaking agreement with stakeholders in the private sector aiming to accelerate the development of solutions to improve the management of marine biofouling and reduce its role related to invasive species and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The newly created Global Industry Alliance (GIA) for Marine Biosafety is a partnership of leaders from private sector companies representing industries affected by biofouling such as shipping, aquaculture, offshore oil & gas and ocean renewable energies.

These maritime champions are working together with IMO’s GloFouling Partnerships project to leverage human, technological and financial resources; facilitate industry input into policy developments and a positive pull for reform processes; and the development and dissemination of technological solutions to improve biofouling management.

Biofouling is the build-up of aquatic organisms on underwater surfaces of marine structures such as ships, platforms and aquaculture installations. It can be responsible for introducing potentially invasive aquatic species to new environments. These marine bioinvasions are the source of important environmental and socio-economic impacts. And unlike other impacts on the marine environment such as pollution, overfishing and habitat loss, which can often be reversed and remediated, once they have become established in a new ecosystem, invasive species are extremely difficult if not impossible to eradicate.

Biofouling is also responsible for increasing the drag of ships and the need for higher levels of fuel consumption to maintain their speed. The work of the GIA is expected to promote solutions to improve the hydrodynamic performance of ships and contribute to a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint of the shipping industry.

The GIA was officially inaugurated on 8 June via an online meeting. A ceremony will be held at the headquarters of IMO, on more convenient date.

On the launch of GloFouling GIA for Marine Biosafety, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said the new alliance would unite for the first time all maritime industries to contribute towards two key environmental issues affecting our planet - protecting marine biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Under this new initiative, these industry champions, which come from very different sectors, are coming together to address common challenges and advance in the sustainable use of ocean resources” Mr Lim said.

Andrew Hudson, Head of UNDP’s Water & Ocean Governance Programme, said:

"At UNDP we are very pleased to witness the creation of a new GIA that can help us all to work together to remove key barriers, whether they are informational or technical, to transform maritime industries and channel their contribution towards achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.”

Following the announcement by the GloFouling Project of its intention to establish the GIA, four companies have agreed to become the founding members of the GIA, although it is expected that more companies may join the GIA even after the launch. The four members that have formally committed to joining the alliance are: CleanSubSea, ECOsubsea, HullWiper and Sonihull.

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