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IMO: Postponing GHG reduction strategy ‘not an option’

05 Apr 2018

The below is an opening statement from IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim addressing delegates at a recent meeting to work on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships:

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to the third session of the Intersessional Working Group on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

I know that you have a heavy workload this week and I am sure that you all wish to start working together as soon as possible, so I will be very brief and direct.

The decision by the MEPC and endorsed by the IMO Council to establish this intersessional working group was made because of the importance and significance of the subject matter.

The Organization needed you to have a robust discussion during the first meeting as a basis for defining the outline of the strategy. You have done that.

It needed you to identify core elements and start developing text for the draft Initial Strategy during the second meeting – and you have done that, too.

Now you are called upon to finalize the draft Initial Strategy for adoption next week at MEPC. I would like to take this opportunity to express my wholehearted appreciation to all of you for the thoughtful and positive contribution during the past journey of challenges.

I have met many of you since the last intersessional meeting and I have listened carefully to your views and proposals on how best to proceed with the finalization of the Initial Strategy. During these conversations, I have been impressed by the strong support you have shown for the process and the willingness you have expressed to adopt the Initial Strategy at MEPC 72 next week. Importantly, you have indicated the need for compromise, if we are to succeed.

Chair, distinguished delegates,

If you allow me I’d like to draw on an analogy which I think should guide your negotiations. This is inspired by the COLREGs – the maritime “rules of the road”: any action by a ship to avoid collision shall be “positive, made in ample time and with due regard to the observance of good seamanship”. Therefore my message is that you do not wait for the last minute at MEPC to make the compromises and find the solutions.

I also wish to express a word of caution: postponing the adoption of the Initial Strategy, to a future session of MEPC, should not be an option. We have already approved the roadmap for developing a comprehensive strategy on reducing GHG emissions from ships, and this roadmap includes adoption of an Initial Strategy at next week’s Committee meeting. You are cordially invited to remember that a positive outcome from this group is key to a success next week, and for the future work of this Organization.

Chair, distinguished delegates,

I exhort you: work together this week, and the adoption of the Initial Strategy next week will be a success for us all. Never before has a meeting generated such great interest – not only within the maritime community but far beyond, as well. Your task will not be easy at times; the stakes are high and the expectations even higher. However, I am confident that, with IMO’s renowned spirit of cooperation and your esteemed wisdom and under the able leadership of your Chair, Mr. Sveinung Oftedal of Norway, you will rise to the challenge, respond to the expectations and, thus, serve well the worthy cause of protecting and preserving the environment.

Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 5 April, 2018


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