In pursuing its mission – safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans – IMO works vigorously and consistently towards developing a comprehensive regulatory regime aimed at protecting the marine environment.
IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has for some time now been considering, as an integral part of its agenda, actions to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from ships engaged in international trade. It met for its 71st session (MEPC 71) from 3 to 7 July 2017, at IMO Headquarters in London, with the participation of 99 Member States, two associate members, three United Nations bodies including UNFCCC, seven intergovernmental organizations and 51 non‑governmental organizations.
MEPC has welcomed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and recognized it as a major achievement by the international community. It also unanimously recognized IMO's own role in mitigating the impact of GHG emissions from international shipping and acknowledged the current efforts and the measures already introduced by IMO to enhance the energy efficiency of ships.
MEPC 70 (October 2016) continued to demonstrate the Organization's commitment to climate change mitigation by adopting amendments to chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI, requiring ships to record and report their fuel oil consumption and additional data on proxies for the "transport work" undertaken by the ship. This requirement will enter into force on 1 March 2018. The establishment of the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database is the first in a three-step approach in which analysis of the data collected (second step) would provide the basis for an objective, transparent and inclusive policy debate in the MEPC (third step).
MEPC 70 also approved a roadmap for the development of a comprehensive IMO strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships which foresees the adoption of initial IMO GHG Strategy in April 2018.
MEPC 71 (July 2017) noted a draft outline for the structure of this initial IMO Strategy and approved terms of reference for the second and third meetings of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships.
The second meeting of this Intersessional Working Group will be held in London from 23 to 27 October 2017 and has been instructed to further develop the structure and identify core elements of the draft initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships and develop draft text for inclusion in the initial Strategy.
It is against this backdrop that IMO will participate in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23/CMP 13) in Bonn, Germany, starting on 6 November 2017. An update of IMO's work to address GHG emissions from bunker fuels used for international shipping will be provided to the forty-seventh session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 47) under agenda item 10(b) – Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport.
IMO will provide information on its role as the international shipping regulator through an official submission, a statement note to SBSTA 47, and by participating in the special event "International aviation and maritime transport – ICAO and IMO contribution to the reduction and limitation of the GHG emissions" on Tuesday, 7 November at 13:15.
IMO's objectives for COP 23/CMP 13
IMO's main objectives for the Bonn Conference (COP 23/CMP 13) are:
- in all communications seek to make clear that international shipping is indispensable to the world and is a vital industry to support and sustain today's global society; and
- in all communications seek to make clear that, as its track record to date so clearly demonstrates, IMO is the appropriate international body to continue work to address greenhouse gas emissions from ships engaged in international trade.