World Ports Sustainability Program launches plan to integrate UN SDGs in the business strategies and governance of Port Authorities

World Ports Sustainability Program launches plan to integrate UN SDGs in the business strategies and governance of Port Authorities

March WPSP meeting hosted by UNCTAD in Geneva to define potential port authority actions per UN Sustainable Development Goal, measurement performance indicators as well as guiding tools and methodologies for use in practice

An in-depth assessment will be made of each of the 17 SDGs and how they can be applied in ports

The World Ports Sustainability Program will take an important next step forward on the 19th-20th March.

"As we reach the first anniversary since the Program began, we have now achieved critical mass with the 60+ clearly defined projects that have joined the WPSP to formulate industry-standard practices in terms of ports integrating UN SDGs into their business strategies and governance" commented IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven.

The interactive WPSP-IAPH expert workshop is being organised in partnership with the Trade and Logistics Branch of UNCTAD, the Antwerp Management School and the University of Antwerp.

Representatives from UN Global Compact, Mediterranean Shipping Company and BNP Paribas Fortis bank will set the scene from their perspective. They will then work with delegates from IAPH's port members worldwide to define which of the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals to apply to the five WPSP themes and identify indicators to measure the sustainability performance of port authorities in these areas.

World Ports Sustainability Program
Antonis Michail speaking at the Smart Cruise Conference on Port Developments in the Baltic Sea Region

Identifying the right fit for UN Sustainable Development goals in practice in ports

Last week, at the Smart Cruise Port Developments Conference in Baltic Sea Region, WPSP Technical Director Antonis Michail explained to delegates the work carried out so far by the Program and the priority now being placed on integrating the UN SDGs in port governance.

"In our experience over the last year," Dr. Michail commented, "we have observed that each UN SDG will be prioritised by each port differently in line with the environmental, social and economic realities. In Europe we see air quality, energy consumption and noise being identified as the three top environmental priorities as defined by members of the European Sea Ports Organisation and these issues are closely related to given SDGs. In other parts of the world, our Pacific Island and Indian Ocean Island members are prioritising the impact of climate change. In Latin America and South East Asia we see a lot of work by ports who are engaged with their local communities on societal considerations."

He added : "What we aim to come up with at the Geneva workshop will form the basis for integrating these UN Sustainable Development Goals in a meaningful, measurable way that is relevant to all world ports , irrespective of size, location and any geopolitical factors. We will ambitiously aim for true governance, which can be flexible and measurable in terms of impact"

Contact :

Victor Shieh

Communications Partner, WPSP

Tel: + 32 473 980 855, email :

IAPH member ports interested in participating in the workshop should contact :

Fabienne Van Loo

WPSP event coordination & administration

email :

About IAPH (

Founded in 1955, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) is a non-profit-making global alliance of 170 ports and 140 port-related organisations covering 90 countries. Its member ports handle more than 60 percent of global maritime trade and around 80 percent of world container traffic. IAPH has consultative NGO status with several United Nations agencies. In 2018, IAPH established the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP). Guided by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, it aims to unite sustainability efforts of ports worldwide, encouraging international cooperation between all partners involved in the maritime supply chain. WPSP ( covers five main areas of collaboration: energy transition, resilient infrastructure, safety and security, community outreach and governance.