The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a globally endorsed assembly dedicated to transforming the world. In the document, 193 UN member states confirm their adherence to a susceptible topic, which is relevant due to the processes of globalization around the world. This document is a written confirmation that states take responsibility and commitments to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection, intending to achieve the goals in partnership and peace. It is transformative, based on human rights principles and an ambitious plan of action for the countries of the UN system and all other development actors. The adoption of the document was the result of continuous multilateral dialogue that began in the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment and that took place up to the UN Summit in 2015 (Barnes, 2019). In order to reach a certain overstepping and a call for concrete actions, the world community had to search for solutions to environmental, social, and economic problems for forty years.

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Since the agenda affects all spheres of life of modern society, it is also relevant for narrower areas in the field of economics, public life, and ecology. The basis of a document is five pillars, including “people, prosperity, planet, partnership, and peace” (Agbedahin, 2019, p. 675). They, in turn, are viewed through “the prism of three main dimensions – social inclusion, economic growth, and environmental protection”. (Bucher et al,, 2020, p. 682) Thus, with 17 Goals and 169 Targets, the Sustainable Development Agenda offers an integrated approach to understanding and solving problems, contributing to the correct and timely posing of questions.

Currently, there are more than 500 international organizations whose activities are in one way or another related to maritime shipping. Among them, the most considerable role is played by worldwide intergovernmental organizations and specialized UN agencies, designed to promote marine trade and shipping development (Hildebrand., 2018). These organizations make a significant contribution to the formation and practical implementation of international legal norms for the “safety of navigation, regulation of international maritime transport, and prevention of environmental pollution”. (Sciberras and Silva, 2018, p. 447) The Agenda is aimed at promoting sustainable economic growth, considering rational use of seas and marine resources and on these issues can regulate specific processes related to shipping.

The international shipping community covers all aspects of the world’s shipping. Some of the aspects are the most important and among them:

  • Maritime shipping policy
  • Safety of navigation
  • Recommended navigation routes for ships and systems for separating ship traffic
  • Prevention of marine pollution
  • Unification of transport documentation
  • Informing members of the community about the legal acts of maritime states concerning shipping (Nguyen et al., 2019, p. 221).

The activities of the international shipping community are trying to take control of all processes that occur in the seas and oceans and involve the transportation of goods by water and imply maritime shipping.

Tankers, bulk carriers, and container ships are the most important means of transporting goods today. They are essential to the industry and the economy as a whole because they transport billions of tons of goods each year along several major trade routes (Xu et al., 2020). “Containerization has revolutionized the world’s freight shipping”, dramatically increasing the efficiency of the industry. (Rutherford and Comer, 2018, p. 6) In connection with globalization, world trade is becoming the most demanded, and the volume of shipping is growing (Oikonomou et al., 2018). The main reason for the significant growth in shipping was the growth of world trade, the automation and the revolution in information technology led to the fact that shipping became a real economic sector.

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The document calls for increasing productivity in the economy through technical modernization and innovation. In retrospect this was the impetus for even more significant industry development. It is the revolution in information technology and communications technology that has reduced communications costs (Balogh et al., 2017). This allowed the development of new networks and production processes and gave a huge impetus to the development of logistics (Panayides and Visvikis, 2017). As a result of increased demand, transportation costs fell, and ships grew in size. What is more, there have been technological and organizational improvements in port management, for example, in the overall movement of cargo (Puig and Darbra, 2019). Economically, scientists have speculated that international trade will continue to expand. The data over the past 15 years is the confirmation; world sea transportation is growing almost every year, including for the main types of cargo. In terms of providing people with jobs, the global transport fleet is also growing every year, in line with the goals of the employment agenda. The shipping association follows the prescription and significant improvements in the field of economics are made.

In order to improve the quality of life and promote well-being for all, the document contains clauses that aim to reduce deaths. Indirectly, meeting international standards, the shipping community is also involved in rescuing people on the seas. The international shipping industry is fully committed to its legal obligation to provide assistance to anyone in distress at sea. Some ships are currently involved in the rescue of up to 500 people, with serious consequences for the safety of the crews of the ships involved in the rescue work. This goes far beyond what merchant seamen do. Coastal states have established search and rescue services that fulfill their obligations under international maritime law. As the number of migrants requiring assistance grows, there should be a commensurate increase in government funding for search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Having analyzed the goals and objectives of the agenda, which a significant number of states have reached, it should be mentioned that sufficient attention is paid to funding. It means both public funding, which complements the efforts of the state to mobilize public resources within the country, and international public funding, official development assistance. In collaboration with the European Union of Shipowners’ Associations and other industry partners, “the international shipping community is conducting high-profile campaigns”. (Voituriez et al., 2017, p. 259) The aim is to convince governments and the public that much more targeted action is needed to resolve a Mediterranean crisis of this magnitude. Currently, agencies are being created for refugees, for their rescue at sea, that is, funds are being found to improve the situation with the safety of people at sea.

However, the shipping industry is trying to regulate the safety of passenger ships. “Balanced and reasonable measures are being taken regarding” passenger safety and evacuation procedures, based on the recommendations of the International Association of Cruise Lines, with which the international shipping community works closely (Scott and Rajabifard, 2017, p. 63). The disasters should focus on radical technical solutions to the stability and survival of ships that have nothing to do with the causes of these specific casualties. This information should serve as the implications for other types of vessels, including cargo ships, and ensure the safety of future sea movements. Based on the agenda, the task of the shipping association is to collect data on disasters and to try to modernize the process of movement on the water in order to avoid emergencies.

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The modernization of technical and innovative activities is a tool due to which a lot can be changed. The agenda includes goals – to achieve increased productivity in the economy precisely through “diversification and automation, improvement and re-equipment of industrial enterprises”, focusing on the use of clean and eco-friendly technologies. (Pfeiffer et al., 2017, p. 916) Electronic navigation can serve as proof that developments in this direction are relevant and will be implemented even more in the future, as the whole world is moving to more advanced automated processes that make the life and work of people easier. The objectives of e-navigation today are to develop a strategic vision for integrating existing and new e-navigation aids to enhance the safety of shipping. The International Shipping Association supports the development of standardized and automated reporting tools with the global support of the maritime industry. The projects allowed the installation of test benches demonstrating the effectiveness of e-navigation, related proposals, and concepts.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provides a basic legal framework for protecting the oceans. In this case, the shipping industry is comprehensively regulated by higher-level narrowly focused organizations. But regulation of other activities, especially on the high seas, is not developing well (Stephens, 2019). The international shipping community supports the agenda’s goals to seek a higher level of environmental protection, especially in areas of economic activity that cannot be adequately regulated.

As a result of the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ analysis, it is vital to mention that much attention is paid to protecting the environment from the negative impact of production and consumption. The decision-makers who worked on creating the current document were fully aware that the ecological situation of the planet was in a deplorable state (McDuffie et al., 2020). The depletion of natural resources and the negative impacts of environmental degradation, including desertification, droughts, land degradation, lack of drinking water, and loss of biodiversity, multiply and exacerbate the many challenges facing humankind.

Thus, in response to the agenda, the international shipping community is calling on governments to ratify and implement the Convention on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. However, the pace of government work on this issue has so far been depressingly slow, with the danger that “the vacuum could be filled with other tools” that were never intended to be applied to ship recycling. (Poulsen et al., 2018, p. 99) The association endorses the environmentally sound recycling and is developing Guidance for Industry on Transitional Arrangements for the Sale of Recycling Vessels, which will be “published immediately following the adoption of the Hong Kong Convention”. (Machingura et al., 2018, p. 5) The document contains measures that shipowners can reasonably take “to adhere to the idea of the Convention in anticipation of its entry into force”. (Christodoulou and Fernández, 2021, p. 432) The intersectoral working group is constantly issuing updated Transitional Measures for Environmentally Sound Disposal. The work in this direction is also carried out, but rather slowly, since the recycling process itself is quite problematic, although governments are gradually coming to a more eco-friendly way of disposing of obsolete vessels.

To conclude, the relevance of the agenda for the international shipping community can be assessed as significant. A call to action, formulated in the agenda, aimed at improving an individual state and in the context of globalization, the peaceful existence of states and, in general, interaction and mutual assistance. This cannot but concern such a significant sector in the economy as shipping, despite the fact that the goals of the agenda are presented generalized and for a specific direction they may seem rather abstract. A certain value is observed in the fact that the association and the agenda pursue the same goals – improving the quality of life of people. A certain safety is meant associated with movement by water, environmental protection, and economic growth in an advantage for individual states due to increased volumes, international trade and establishing relations with other countries, maintaining peace. These values are reflected both in the preamble of the agenda and in the main list of goals and objectives of the agenda.

Some processes require funding, state and local, and in this case there are several items on the agenda dedicated to this issue. The states take upon themselves the responsibility to improve the living conditions of people, economy, ecology and the document contributes to them in this, strengthening international relations. What is more, extremely important processes associated with recycling are not easy to carry out. Therefore, the transition to new, more eco-friendly models in relationships with nature is not happening quickly, but the whole world is on the way to this. Nevertheless, the document is significantly transformative, and international organizations, certain communities at the state level, must meet the requirements presented as a result of many years of polemics of the progressive states of the world.

Reference List

Agbedahin, A. V. (2019) ‘Sustainable development, Education for Sustainable Development, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: emergence, efficacy, eminence, and future’, Sustainable Development, 27(4), pp. 669-680.

Balogh, W. R., St-Pierre, L. and Di Pippo, S. (2017) ‘Towards a results-based management approach for capacity-building in space science, technology and applications to support the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development’, Acta Astronautica, 139, pp. 385-389.

Barnes, M. M. (2019) ‘State-owned entities as key actors in the promotion and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: examples of good practices’, Laws, 8(2), p. 10.

Bucher, A. et al. (2020) ‘New partnerships for co-delivery of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development’, International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 11(5), pp. 680-685.

Christodoulou, A. and Fernández, J. E. (2021) Maritime governance and international maritime organization instruments focused on sustainability in the light of United Nations’ Sustainable Development goals. Cham: Springer.

Hildebrand, L. P. and Brigham, L. W. (2018) Navigating the future: towards sustainable arctic marine operations and shipping in a changing Arctic. Cham: Springer.

Machingura, F. et al. (2018) ‘Climate information services, integrated knowledge systems and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, Sustainable Earth, 1(1), pp. 1-7.

McDuffie, E. E. et al. (2020) ‘A global anthropogenic emission inventory of atmospheric pollutants from sector-and fuel-specific sources (1970–2017): an application of the Community Emissions Data System (CEDS) ’, Earth System Science Data, 12(4), pp. 3413-3442.

Nguyen, H. O., Nikolova, N. and Tenekedjiev, K. (2019) Toward sustainable national shipping: a comparative analysis. Tokyo: International Association of Maritime Universities.

Oikonomou, I., Pastra, A. and Visvikis, I. (2018) A financial business case for corporate social responsibility. Cham: Springer.

Panayides, P. M. and Visvikis, I. D. (2017) Shipping operations management. Cham: Springer.

Pfeiffer, A., Middeke, F. and Tambour, M. (2017) ‘2030 agenda for sustainable development: implications for official statistics’, Statistical Journal of the IAOS, 33(4), pp. 911-918.

Poulsen, R. T., Hermann, R. R. and Smink, C. K. (2018) ‘Do eco-rating schemes improve the environmental performance of ships? ’, Marine Policy, 87, pp. 94-103.

Puig, M. and Darbra, R. M. (2019) ‘The role of ports in a global economy, issues of relevance and environmental initiatives’, World Seas: an Environmental Evaluation, pp. 593-611.

Rutherford, D. and Comer, B. (2018) ‘The International Maritime Organization’s initial greenhouse gas strategy’, The national academies of sciences engineering medicine, pp. 1-8.

Sciberras, L. and Silva, J. R. (2018) ‘The UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the maritime transport domain: the role and challenges of IMO and its stakeholders through a grounded theory perspective‘, WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, 17(3), pp. 435-459.

Scott, G. and Rajabifard, A. (2017) ‘Sustainable development and geospatial information: a strategic framework for integrating a global policy agenda into national geospatial capabilities‘, Geo-spatial information science, 20(2), pp. 59-76.

Stephens, T. (2019) ‘The role and relevance of nationally determined contributions under the Paris agreement to ocean and coastal management in the anthropocene‘, Ocean Yearbook Online, 33(1), pp. 250-267.

Voituriez, T. et al. (2017) ‘Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development‘ in Kanie, N. and Biermann, F. (eds.) Governing Through Goals: Sustainable Development Goals as Governance Innovation, p. 259. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Xu, M., Pan, Q., Xia, H. and Masuda, N. (2020) ‘Estimating international trade status of countries from global liner shipping networks‘, Royal Society open science, 7(10), pp. 1-8.

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DemoEssays. "The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." August 31, 2022. https://demoessays.com/the-2030-agenda-for-sustainable-development/.