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U.N., Long Beach Officials Collaborate on Environment

Trade delegation meets with United Nations Environment Programme

April 9, 2008

GENEVA, Switzerland – Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Port of Long Beach officials met with top administrators in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Monday, April 7, 2008 to discuss anti-global warming initiatives and the Port’s leadership role in reducing air pollution from seaport activities.

UNEP is designated by the United Nations to address environmental issues regionally and globally. The organization reviews environmental practices throughout the world and coordinates global advocacy on environmental policies.

“It is rewarding to share the success of our various environmental programs with a global organization such as UNEP,” said Harbor Commission President Mario Cordero.  “Clearly the Port of Long Beach is viewed as a global leader in the international maritime industry.”

The meeting with UNEP managers Jaco Tavenier and Isabel Higuere provided Mayor Foster and Port officials a first-ever opportunity to brief the organization on the Port of Long Beach’s industry-leading efforts to improve the environment.

Of particular interest to UNEP was the Port’s Green Flag program, a public-private partnership that rewards ships and vessel operators for slowing down ship speeds to improve air quality near the harbor. The UNEP operates a program called “Blue Flag” that addresses pollution issues at public beaches and marinas.

“Their sincere interest in our Clean Air Action Plan and Green Flag program is a testament to the hard work we have done at the Port,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. “We appreciate the UNEP’s desire to share our environmental programs as a model for other government organizations throughout the world.”

The UNEP meeting is part of a two-week European trade mission that includes visits by the Long Beach officials to the ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg. The Long Beach delegation is also meeting with executives of European shipping companies that use the Port of Long Beach to discuss the Port’s latest environmental initiatives under the Green Port Policy and Clean Air Action Plan.

In Rotterdam on April 1, 2008, officials from the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Rotterdam Authority signed a comprehensive environmental exchange agreement that will help push “green” practices and technologies even further at the two ports.

Early next week, the delegation will meet with the International Maritime Organization in London to push for higher global standards for clean ship fuels.

Mayor Foster and Commission President Cordero are heading the trade mission along with a delegation that includes Harbor Commissioner Nick Sramek, Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke, Executive Officer to the Board Alex Cherin and Trade Relations Director Don Snyder.

 

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