Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 14), 20-24 March 2023

IMO GHG working group progresses work on revision of IMO climate strategy

An IMO working group has made progress in developing the draft 2023 IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships.   

The Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 14) met 20-24 March, with more than 750 registered participants from nearly 80 IMO Member States, and from international non-governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO and intergovernmental organizations. The meeting was held in person with remote hybrid participation.

The Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships was adopted in 2018.

The updated and revised Strategy is expected to be adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which is the decision-making body, at its 80th session from 3 to 7 July 2023. A further Intersessional Working Group session will be held from 26 to 30 June (ISWG-GHG 15).

Development of the revised GHG Strategy 

Following its constructive discussions throughout the week, the Group agreed on a draft revised GHG strategy to be used as a basis for its continued negotiations at the next session on what will become the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. The draft document developed by the Group contains several options for text and numbers reflecting different proposals submitted on various parts of the draft 2023 IMO GHG Strategy which will be further considered during the upcoming IMO climate meetings.    

Mid-term GHG reduction measures

The Group considered proposals for developing a basket of candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures, containing both technical and economic elements, in the context of Phase II of the IMO Work Plan for the development of mid-term measures. The Group noted the constructive progress made in this regard. 

The Group welcomed all relevant proposals submitted to this session and previous sessions. It agreed to continue its consideration of those proposals and other relevant documents submitted to previous sessions, with a view to finalizing its considerations under Phase II of the Work plan, by identifying the basket/measure(s) to be further developed in priority under Phase III - which should be initiated by the Committee during MEPC 80.

Expert workshop on mid-term measures

The Group requested the Secretariat to organize a dedicated ad-hoc expert workshop on comparative analysis of candidate mid-term measures ahead of the next intersessional working group meeting (ISWG-GHG 15). Mid-term measures might include technical components such as a GHG intensity standard, as well as an economic component(s) such as a fuel levy, reward, feebate or flat rate contribution. These are aimed at incentivizing the global availability and uptake of low and zero carbon fuels.

The planned two-day workshop is expected to: 

  • carry out an expert review of the technical and economic elements, and their possible combinations, of the proposals for candidate mid-term measures, in particular their feasibility, effectiveness to deliver the levels of ambition and their potential impacts on States; and

  • discuss possible technical and economic elements, as well as other commonalities in the proposed measures, which may serve as building blocks for the basket of candidate mid-term measures - to be developed further as a priority under Phase III of the Work Plan.

Proponents of candidate measures as well as relevant organizations, including UNCTAD, will be invited to submit and present their views and share data on the technical and economic elements of the proposals for candidate mid-term measures, and their possible combinations.

A report would be submitted to the MEPC 80 session, following prior consideration by the ISWG-GHG 15 session.  

Initial discussion on revenue collection  and disbursement mechanisms potentially generated by a  mid-term GHG reduction measure

The Group had an initial discussion on revenue collection and disbursement mechanisms potentially generated by a mid-term measure.

The Group noted that the consideration of this issue could be part of the further development of the basket of measures, and that further detailed discussions should take place under Phase III of the Work plan (to be initiated during MEPC 80), as appropriate.

Phase III of the Work Plan envisages the development of (a) measure(s) to be finalized within (an) agreed target date(s).

IMO ship fuel oil consumption Data Collection System (DCS)

The Group discussed proposals relating to potential amendments to the IMO ship fuel oil consumption Data Collection System (DCS).

The Group noted broad support within the Group for the inclusion of data on transport work and on enhanced level of granularity of reported data in the DCS. In view of its heavy workload, the Group recommended that further consideration of proposed draft amendments to the DCS should be undertaken (with a view to finalization) by the Working Group on Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency, which is expected to be established during MEPC 80.

The draft amendments relate to MARPOL Annex VI Appendix IX on "Information to be submitted to the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database" (relating to regulation 27). 

Next steps