Environmental Maritime Governance in Kenya (EMG-K): Policy, Practice and Prospects for the Abatement of Shipping Air Emissions


Start date: 1 September, 2022 End date: 31 August, 2025 Project type: Research projects in countries with targeted development cooperation (earlier Window 2) Project code: 21-M12-CBS Countries: Kenya Thematic areas: Climate change, State building, governance and civil society, Transport and infrastructure, Lead institution: Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark Partner institutions: University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya Institute for Law and Environmental Governance (ILEG), Kenya Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: René Taudal Paulsen Total grant: 4,992,954 DKK

Project summary

Kenya faces the challenge of facilitating economic development via its growing maritime trades while protecting the global climate and local air quality. The EMG-K project explores Kenya’s environmental maritime governance for the abatement of emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from ships. It suggests ways to strengthen Kenya’s maritime governance capacity, and supports Kenya’s efforts to mitigate climate change and improve local air quality.

EMG-K studies Kenya’s engagement in policy making in the United Nation’s International Maritime Organization (IMO), which regulates shipping’s air emissions via the MARPOL Convention. Little is known about the involvement of developing countries in IMO policy making. Addressing this knowledge gap, the project investigates the factors which shape, enhance or hinder Kenya’s IMO engagement and maritime governance capacity.

EMG-K also studies the implementation and enforcement of IMO MARPOL Convention’s Annex VI in Kenyan ports. Maritime emissions abatement has been said to depend on a global and uniform implementation of regulatory measures as well as strong enforcement. This is a particular challenge in the shipping industry with footloose and global operations. Researchers have not previously explored the factors which shape local implementation and enforcement of IMO policies. The project addresses this knowledge gap.

The EMG-K project explores the following questions:
1. How does Kenya engage in IMO policy making for air emissions abatement, and with what effects?
2. How does Kenya implement and enforce MARPOL Annex VI, and with what effects?
3. How can Kenyan public actors further facilitate emissions abatement?

EMG-K will drive forward the literatures on international climate mitigation policies and governance from a developing country perspective, and strengthen research capacity at the participating universities.

The expected outcomes of the project are:
• Kenya’s increased participation and influence in IMO policy making processes
• Strengthened implementation and enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI in Kenya
• Mitigation of climate change through improved enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI
• Development of policy designs at IMO with potential for effective enforcement


First year report
During the first 10 months, we have focused on WP 1 (Kenya's IMO engagement).
We have done observation studies in the IMO in London (in Dec., Feb. & June) and seven research interviews in Mombasa/Nairobi (in Mar.). Our work coincides with the ongoing negotiations regarding the revision of the IMO strategy for GHG reduction from shipping.
CASELAP has negotiated access to participate in the Kenyan IMO delegation and is awaiting formal communication of the approval to enable them sit as part of the Kenyan delegation in the next IMO meetings, and CBS sits on the Danish delegation. We do our research in parallel. Three team members from CASELAP and Poulsen from CBS jointly conducted seven research interviews in Mombasa/Nairobi in 3-2023.
We have hosted a kick-off research workshop in July 2022 Nairobi, two months before the official project start on 9-2022, and CBS and CASELAP financed it.
We hosted the second workshop in Nairobi in 3-2023 and will have a writing retreat in Elsinore in 8-2023, followed by CASELAP research stays at CBS.
Odote from CASELAP has recently published an article in Kenya's "Business Daily" on shipping GHG policy and Poulsen from CBS did a blog on developing countries' IMO engagement.
ILEG will organize Kenyan multi-stakeholder policy dialogues, publish policy briefings, and host an EMG-K conference. ILEG staff has considerable expertise in supporting governments to translate sustainable development principles into actionable legislative commitments.

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