Quality education, gender equality, tapping into industry and innovation, and protecting the marine environment are the four key areas of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that Greece is aiming to achieve in the immediate future, said Greek Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis speaking at the “Third Economist Sustainability Summit for South East Europe and the Mediterranean” held in Athens.
The summit focused on the United Nation’s 2030 agenda which calls on governments, civil society, academia and the private sector to work together towards achieving efficient and effective implementation of 17 sustainable development goals.
Referring to education, Plakiotakis said the ministry was set to upgrade naval education so as to improve services in the shipping sector. With regard to gender equality, the ministry will be launching a special working group which will coordinate efforts to upgrade and strengthen the role of women in shipping.
Referring to the UN’s ninth goal – industry, innovation and infrastructure – Plakiotakis reiterated the government’s commitment to the development of the country’s ports into growth drivers. In this direction, actions are being taken to speed up the utilization of 10 major regional ports.
Lastly, the Greek shipping minister went on to underline the importance of meeting the 14th goal, which involves the careful management and protection of marine areas with regulations that will restrict overfishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.
In this direction, Plakiotakis referred to the latest International Marine Organization (IMO) regulation to be implemented as of 1 January 2020 aiming to restrict sulfur emissions by ships as well as Greece’s role as a shipping leader to set the example and provide feedback.
According to Plakiotakis, with more than 4,000 merchant ships, Greece accounts for 21 percent of the global merchant fleet and 53 percent of the European Union fleet.