International Maritime Organization (IMO)
Information
  • Date submitted: 28 Oct 2011
  • Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
  • Name: International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Pollution (4 hits),

Full Submission

IMO ? the International Maritime Organization ? is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine Pollution by ships. International shipping is the carrier of world trade, transporting around 90% of global commerce. Being an international industry shipping needs a global regulatory framework in which to operate. IMO, with its 170 Member States, provides this framework. IMO's expectations on the Rio Conference are as stated in the objectives of the conference and IMO fully supports the process within its mandate: to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.

The IMO invites the Rio+20 to consider the following:

1. Shipping needs a global regulatory framework in which to operate: as an inherently international industry, it requires the same rules to apply at both ends of a voyage. International shipping is the carrier of world trade, transporting around 90% of global commerce. Without it, the bulk transportation of raw materials and the import and export of affordable food and goods would simply not be possible. The global regulatory framework is provided by IMO, which has adopted 52 treaties regulating ship design and operation. The most important of them ? concerning the safety of life at sea and the protection of the environment ? today apply on 99% of the world?s merchant fleet.

2. Shipping is the safest, most secure, most efficient and most environmentally sound means of bulk transportation ? with declining ratios of accidents, zero terrorist incidents, improving turnaround of ships and significant reductions in discharges to sea or emissions to air. Much of these advances have been made possible as a result of IMO?s regulations, industry initiatives and technological developments; by helping to build technical maritime capacity in developing countries, where some 70-75% of the world?s merchant fleet is now registered, as part of IMO?s support for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and, not least, through concerted IMO and industry action to respond to Agenda 21. IMO has responded to the UN system focus on MDGs through the priority given to the implementation of activities that contribute to those MDGs that fall within its scope and competence ? with particular emphasis on providing increased support for Africa; special needs of Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries; the integration of women in the maritime sector; and a wide range of regulatory actions and technical assistance activities to protect the marine and the atmospheric environment.

3. Shipping is subject to the first ever global and legally binding CO2 regulations for an entire economic or industrial sector. Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) was originally adopted to regulate the emission of air pollutants from ships, and was amended in July 2011 to include regulations on energy efficiency for ships. It is one of 13 treaty instruments IMO has adopted since the Earth Summit of 1992, dealing exclusively with the protection of the marine and atmospheric environment from adverse impacts deriving from shipping.

4. International shipping contributes to the three pillars of sustainable development. It facilitates global commerce and the creation of wealth and prosperity among nations and peoples, creating a wide variety of jobs on board ships and ashore, with direct and indirect beneficial impacts on the livelihoods of others. In comparison to other transport modes, it provides the most environmentally sound and energy-efficient means of moving huge quantities of cargoes and people. With more than half the world?s population living near the coast, the importance of integrated coastal zone management, including port development and the protection of coastal and marine resources, is of particular importance to sustainable development. The regulatory regime developed by IMO as well as its recommended practise provides a framework for countries to develop the maritime transport infrastructure in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner as well as protecting and managing their coastal and marine resources.

5. Facilitation - Poverty Eradication. The Maritime sector can work through the IMO to fulfil its responsibility and possibility to make trade easier and to maintain the commitment from States, and world citizens, to contribute to the eradication of poverty and distribution of growth as formulated in the United Nations MDGs in the Johannesburg Summit 2002. In the era of globalisation, access to overseas markets is a key element for developing and emerging economies to create economic growth. Trade benefits both the seller and the buyer, and applied to macroeconomics and international markets, the prosperity of any nation is linked to its possibilities to import necessities and export its surplus. Supported by appropriate development strategies, trade can facilitate the structural transformation of developing economies toward higher value-added products, leading to eradication of poverty, greener economy and a positive impact on income. However, developing countries? efforts to increase their share of global trade are often undermined by prohibitive transport costs, which erode the competitive edge of their exports and therefore pose trade barriers of greater significance than import tariffs. Through the work of IMO in the implementation of appropriate trade facilitation policies, economic growth gains from international trade can be achieved.

6. Social aspects - The promotion of green jobs including the seafaring industry is a pre-requisite to transition towards a greener economy, poverty eradication and sustainable development. Employment in the shipping industry provides access to much-needed foreign currency for the developing countries who are major suppliers of seafarers. The regular salaries that seafarers earn and remit to their respective countries have a direct impact on the economic viability of their communities, in particular, and to the countries, in general, and contribute to social inclusion.

7. Regular Process. The IMO and other relevant United Nations specialized agencies, as appropriate, should continue to provide technical and scientific support to the UN Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the oceans.

8. Further greening of the sector is nevertheless desirable and achievable. The challenges for IMO and the shipping industry include promoting entry into force of all of IMO?s environmental treaties; reducing even further the Pollution caused by ships through discharges to sea and air emissions, by helping countries to ensure global, uniform and effective implementation and enforcement of IMO standards; developing standards to ensure that the operation of ships using alternative sources of fuel is both safe and environmentally sound; further improving the energy efficiency of ships; developing additional means ? such as market-based measures ? to further reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from ships; preventing and controlling the transfer of invasive aquatic species through ships? ballast water and ships' hull fouling; and addressing the technical, operational and environmental aspects of the ever-increasing size of ships.

9. The economic, societal, environmental and reputational case for the further greening of the sector is clear and is espoused by both IMO, as the sector?s global regulator, and the industry itself, with the aim of:

? promoting entry into force of all of IMO?s environmental treaties and their global, uniform implementation and enforcement, principally through the provision of technical assistance;

? promoting enhanced flag, port and coastal State performance to deliver further reductions in Pollution caused by ships through discharges to sea and emissions to air, including through the availability of adequate port reception facilities for ship- generated wastes;

? promoting greater energy-efficiency of ships, including through the development of market-based measures, and, as a consequence, reductions in fuel consumption and in emissions of both air pollutants and greenhouse gases;

? developing global standards to ensure that the operation of ships using alternative sources of fuel is both safe and environmentally sound;

? promoting implementation, or development of global standards to prevent and control the transfer of invasive aquatic species through ships? ballast water and the fouling of ships? hulls, thereby contributing to protecting and preserving biodiversity and enhancing human health and the quality of the environment;

? addressing, through existing and/or future treaties and other instruments, the technical, operational and environmental aspects of the ever-increasing size of ships; and

? maintaining international shipping?s widely-acknowledged position as the most environmentally sound mode of transport.
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