IMO Council to increase in size to 40 Members
The IMO Council is to increase in size to 40 Members from 32, following the acceptance by two-thirds of Member States of amendments to the IMO Convention.
The 1993 amendments will enter into force on 7 November 2002, 12 months after Papua New Guinea deposited its acceptance of the amendments, bringing to 107 the number of acceptances, two-thirds of the 160 IMO Member States, which were required to bring the amendments into force.
The milestone of the necessary acceptances was reached following considerable efforts made by IMO Secretary-General Mr. William A. O’Neil, with the support of the IMO Secretariat, to respond to the repeated concerns of the Council at the slow rate of acceptance of the 1993 amendments to the IMO Convention.
IMO Secretary-General Mr. William A. O’Neil said increasing the size of the Council was an important step in ensuring that its size was maintained at a level proportional to the membership of the Organization and that it included a good cross-section of Member States from the different geographical regions of the world.
“The expansion of the Council will ensure a broader representation for the body, which acts as IMO's governing body between sessions of the Assembly and has a crucial role to play in deciding on such matters as the selection of the Secretary-General and the IMO work programme and budget. This is particularly important to the developing countries and to large flag States,” said Mr. O’Neil.
“IMO now has 160 Member States – compared to 149 in 1993 when these amendments were adopted – and the Council needed to be enlarged to keep its size in the correct proportion with the expanded membership of IMO and to make sure that a broader voice is heard in the running of the Organization,” he added.
Under the 1993 Amendments, Council Members will be elected by the IMO Assembly in three different categories, as follows:
(a) 10 shall be States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services;
(b) 10 shall be other States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade; and
(c) 20 shall be States not elected under (a) or (b) above which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.
The 1993 Amendments increased the membership from eight to 10 in each of categories (a) and (b) and from sixteen to 20 in category (c).
The current 32 Members of the Council, elected by the 21st session of the Assembly in 1999 for 2000-2001, are as follows:
Category (a) Eight States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services: China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States;
Category (b) Eight States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Sweden; and
Category (c) Sixteen States not elected under (a) or (b) above which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation, and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world: Australia, the Bahamas, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Turkey.
The IMO Assembly will meet for its 22nd regular session from 19 to 30 November.
The Convention establishing IMO was adopted in March 1948. (IMO was originally called the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) and the name was changed in 1982.)
The Convention received enough ratification to enter into force in 1958. By 31 December 1958 the Organization had 37 member States. The first Assembly of the Organization was held in January 1959, attended by 30 Member States and 32 observer countries.
The 1948 Convention provided for three main organs: the Assembly, the Council and the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).
Today, the main organs are the Assembly, the Council, the MSC, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), the Legal Committee, the Technical Co-operation Committee, the Facilitation Committee and nine Sub-Committees.
The Council originally consisted of 16 Member States.
Over the years, keeping pace with the expansion of IMO membership, the Council has been successively enlarged by amendments to the IMO Convention:
· The 1964 amendments (entering into force in 1967) increased the Council to 18 members;
· The 1974 amendments (entering into force in 1978) increased the Council to 24 members;
· The 1979 amendments (entering into force in 1984) increased the Council to 32 members; and
· The 1993 amendments (entering into force in 2002) increase the Council to 40 members.