IMO looks to the future with new theme

IMO Council members have reflected the changing priorities of the Organization as it responds to new global requirements by provisionally endorsing a new theme and setting in train a comprehensive review of its future strategy.

The 88th meeting of the IMO Council, held at the Organization’s London Headquarters from 10th – 14th June, has established an ad hoc Council Working Group to prepare a draft strategic plan for the Organization, for the Council’s consideration.  In line with a decision of the 22nd IMO Assembly, the plan will cover an initial five-year period and outline the strategy of the Organization for the following years.

The Council agreed that the strategic plan should take account of emerging trends, developments and challenges in the shipping and maritime world, particularly in the realms of safety, technology development, marine environment, globalization and maritime security.  Strategic directions and defined objectives will be established and the strategic directions will be translated into high-level action plans, including a prioritisation of areas of work and assessment of results, over the initial five-year period.  The plan will also provide a projection of the Organization’s prospective resource requirements and cater for flexibility, where necessary.

It was also agreed that the plan should incorporate a mission statement for the Organization and the Council gave provisional endorsement to a proposal from Secretary-General William O’Neil that the Organization’s theme should evolve from the current “Safer Shipping and Cleaner Oceans” to “Safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans” to reflect the broader outlook of the Organization in the light of recent developments and to provide a blueprint for future action.

Safety and environmental audits for Member States – plan agreed

The Council also approved in principle the concept of an IMO Model Audit Scheme, designed to help promote maritime safety and environmental protection by assessing how effectively Member States implement and enforce relevant IMO Convention standards, and by providing them with feedback and advice on their current performance.

In view of the lack of time available to consider all the comments, and to take advantage of the presence of the newly expanded Council, the Council decided to continue discussion on the proposed Scheme at its eighty-ninth session in November this year.

The Council requested the Maritime Safety, Marine Environment Protection and Technical Co-operation Committees to give preliminary consideration to the issue during the current year.

In considering the issue, the Council requested MSC and MEPC to consider how the details of an IMO Model Audit Scheme could be developed and to advise on the safety and environmentally-critical areas they consider should be covered by the Scheme. The Council requested the TC Committee to consider also the issue from a capacity building point of view.


IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations Specialized Agency with responsibility for the safety of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

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