The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 16/CMP 6) – meeting in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010 – has once again noted the progress made by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on its work plan to limit or reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping. IMO was invited to continue informing future Conferences and their subsidiary bodies of the Organization’s progress on this issue.
Commenting on the outcome of the Cancún Conference, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos stated that, in his view, “the Conference should, with good reason, be considered to be a success overall as it was able, under the exemplary leadership of the Mexican Presidency, to move forward several of the items on its agenda, building on the positive outcomes of the Copenhagen Conference of 2009 – in particular, through agreeing on enhanced adaptation and mitigation actions, on the issue of climate change financing to give effect to the relevant provisions of the Copenhagen Accord, and through the establishment of the Green Climate Fund.”
As to the objectives pursued at the Conference by IMO, namely:
- that the Organization should continue pursuing the reduction or limitation of GHG emissions from international shipping; and
- making the UNFCCC Parties aware of progress made since the Copenhagen Conference on all three pillars of the Organization’s work plan (i.e., technical, operational and market-based measures),
Mr Mitropoulos added that, “although the Cancún Conference did not made specific decisions on the international transport sector, the indications are that the IMO position and progress has been duly taken into account, which, whilst responding to the first of the above objectives, augurs well for the outcome of next year’s COP 17/CMP 7 in Durban, South Africa. In the meantime, the status quo of the Kyoto Protocol concerning the pursuance, through IMO, of efforts to reduce or limit GHG emissions from international shipping remains unaltered.”
Mr Mitropoulos said that, “to the positives of the outcome of the Conference, as far as IMO is concerned, should be added the suggestion that, within efforts aimed at raising climate change financing through the international transport sector, further work on market-based measures should be taken forward in IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization.”
“It is now up to IMO”, he added, “to redouble its efforts to make further progress on its work plan, through intensive and meaningful deliberations and decisions at the July 2011 session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee. A successful outcome to that session will enable IMO, when the Durban Conference convenes in December 2011 (to consider adopting a legally binding instrument under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as its final agreed outcome, that will enable full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention), to present tangible results demonstrating its Members’ commitment and determination to add the Organization’s contribution to the world efforts to combat climate change.”
Commenting at the end of the Conference, Mr Mitropoulos reflected, “Could the outcome of the Cancún Conference have been better? Undoubtedly, yes, but I believe that, in the circumstances, the Conference, having adopted a balanced and substantive package of decisions that now constitute the ‘Cancun Agreement’, achieved what was realistically possible. Time and again, delegates stressed that seeking optimum results should not jeopardize the achievement of good results. Having realized that it was not possible for a Conference of the size of the Cancún one to satisfy, to the full, the interests, needs and aspirations of all the 193 Governments attending, the Conference sought to make progress, as much as it was reasonable and possible to do in the circumstances, on issues that would pave the way for a successful outcome of next year’s Conference in Durban. Another positive outcome of the Conference was its re-affirmation of support for the multilateral approach to matters of global interest.”
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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