IMO audit scheme receives financial boost

The practical implementation of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme has received a significant boost in the form of a financial pledge from the Government of the United Kingdom.

The UK has offered a donation of £55,000 in this financial year towards the cost of the Organization's technical co-operation activities designed to help prepare developing countries participate in the Audit Scheme. The money will be used to help support the regional training courses for auditors that are due to be delivered in the early part of 2006.

In a letter to IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, the UK Minister for Transport Dr Stephen Ladyman pledged confirmed the UK's support for the scheme, which is due to be formally adopted by the IMO Assembly when it meets for its 24th session in November this year. He pledged that the United Kingdom would offer itself for audit as soon as practicable and would publish the results, adding that Member States that were able to should fund the cost of their own audit.

In thanking the UK Government for its staunch support for IMO's efforts in developing the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, Mr Mitropoulos welcomed the UK's intention to offer its maritime administration for audit as soon as practicable and expressed the hope that the publishing of the audit results would be an example emulated by others.

Background information

The Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme is intended to provide an audited Member State with a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effectively it administers and implements the key IMO technical treaties that are covered by the Scheme.

It is expected that the scheme, once finalized and implemented, will bring about many benefits, such as identifying where capacity-building activities (for example, the provision of technical assistance by IMO to Member States) would have the greatest effect and targeting the appropriate action would be greatly improved; the Member States themselves would receive valuable feedback, intended to assist them in improving their own capacity to put the applicable instruments into practice; and generic lessons learnt from audits could be provided to all Member States so that the benefits could be widely shared.

Moreover, the results of the learning experience could be systematically fed back into the regulatory process at IMO to help make measurable improvements in the effectiveness of the international regulatory framework of shipping.

Hand-in-hand with the development of the audit scheme goes the preparation of a Code for the implementation of mandatory IMO instruments as well as the consideration of human element issues.

The go-ahead to develop the scheme was given by the IMO at its 23rd Assembly in November 2003 when it adopted resolution A.946(23) Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme. The resolution approved the establishment and further development of the scheme, to be implemented on a voluntary basis, and requested the IMO Council to develop, as a matter of high priority, procedures and other modalities for the implementation of the scheme.

The Audit Scheme and the Code have been been forwarded for formal adoption by the IMO Assembly in November 2005.

Briefing 39, 7 October 2005

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.

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