The roles of scientific research and stakeholder engagement for evidence-based policy formulation on shipping emissions control in Hong Kong

Shipping emissions control is critical to air quality management and improved public health for coastal port cities and regions with heavy marine traffic. However, Asian port cities have been slow in introducing regulations on marine fuels for two main reasons - firstly, due to a lack of information and therefore appreciation on the air quality and public health benefits that could be derived; and secondly, due to sensitivity as to whether there may be negative impacts on port competitiveness and trade opposition. Hong Kong, one of the top-ten international container ports in the world, has been proactive in reducing shipping emissions in the past decade. The Ocean Going Vessels Fuel at Berth regulation, enforced since July 2015 in Hong Kong, is the first marine fuel control regulation for ocean going vessels in Asia. This regulation has been adopted nationally by China for its coastal ports, followed by the establishment of domestic emission control areas in its coastal waters that will come into force in 2019. This paper describes the decade-long journey where scientific research led to evidence-based policy changes. New insights and understanding arising from the research enabled cross-sectoral engagement and dialogue among the key stakeholders in government, industry and civil society, which resulted in the political consensus needed for a change in policy and legislation. Similar evidence-based policy formulation, together with public-private sectors dialogue could be useful to other jurisdictions in pursuing a "win-win" path to improve environmental protection and public health through regulating shipping emissions. The same combination of science-to-engagement-to-policy approach could also become part of a knowledge-and-consensus-building process for other environmental policy areas as well.


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  • Accession Number: 01687091
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 15 2018 3:22PM