IMO’s commitment to decarbonise shipping through concerted international action

IMO Event - IMO’s commitment to decarbonize shipping through concerted international action

Welcome and opening remarks

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

City of Glasgow College

Prime Minister, Ministers, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to our panel discussion on “IMO’s commitment to decarbonize shipping through concerted international action”.

My special welcome to His Excellency the Honourable Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji who will provide a keynote address. 

I also wish to thank our panelists for agreeing to share their expertise this evening. My appreciation also goes to Mr. Julian Bray, for kindly agreeing to moderate our event this evening. 

It is a pleasure to see so many familiar faces joining us today, I am also happy to welcome all those representatives that may not be regularly involved in our work.

This is the advantage of COP 26, it brings together people from all over the world from different professions, sectors, the public and private domain, all bound by one common goal to address climate change.

We thought it important to take this opportunity at COP 26 to showcase the maritime communities’ efforts towards the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions and to highlight the scope and reach of the measures adopted by IMO. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has gained a renewed appreciation of the importance of international shipping for global trade and the global economy. 

International shipping is regulated at IMO. IMO’s instruments are not just verbal commitments, voluntary pledges, or aspirations. Measures adopted at IMO are binding legal requirements enforced by Member States across the globe covering the world fleet. IMO’s 175 Member States implement the measures agreed.

Shipping's decarbonization journey is already underway. 

We have in place, a system of measures that reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions from shipping and in June this year, we adopted a comprehensive set of mandatory measures to improve and expedite the entire world fleet’s energy efficiency.

However, the latest climate reports send a clear message. We urgently need to accelerate decarbonization in all industrial and transport sectors and maritime has to play its part.

We must press on with our work to upgrade our ambition in keeping with the recent developments in the global community.

IMO Member states have initiated discussions on proposals to set a maximum carbon-content for marine fuels and carbon pricing mechanisms, based on economic instruments to progress shipping’s course to decarbonization.

In just two weeks, at MEPC 77, we will have the opportunity to make significant progress on these proposals.

However, it is important to bear in mind that statements from world leaders at COP 26 also clearly emphasize that climate action should not further deepen the existing gap between developed and developing countries.

IMO is already assessing the potential impacts of Greenhouse Gas reduction measures on States when developing new measures with a view to addressing disproportionate negative impacts identified.

In all its work, IMO pays particular attention to the needs of developing counties, especially small islands developing States and least developed countries. 

Impacts on the world’s export markets for developing countries and access to affordable maritime transport services for the heavily maritime transport-reliant SIDS need to be safeguarded in IMO’s regulatory framework. 

To make shipping’s decarbonization a reality, investments in renewable energy and port infrastructure around the world are crucial.

To that end, we continue to expand our existing capacity building initiatives, technology cooperation, technology transfer, training, and investments into zero emission fuel production and are enhancing our cooperation with financial institutions to remove  barriers that may impede investments in shipping’s energy transition.

Cooperation between the private and public sector will be key in this journey. I appreciate the proactive approach and contribution of the maritime industry and look forward to further cooperation in this regard.

The outcomes of COP 26 and calls for action by world leaders, both from governments and business, are loud and clear. We need to act now, and we need to act urgently leaving no one behind!

Achieving net-zero emissions in the next decades will be an enormous challenge. The hallmark IMO spirit of cooperation will be key to our success. 

We can succeed as we have done in the past with consideration and collaborative dialogue among Member States.

And this is why it is such a pleasure to welcome this diverse panel today to hear the different ideas, suggestions and perspectives on the opportunities and challenges the decarbonization of shipping will bring and how IMO can support these efforts and, as always, find consensus to achieve our common goals.

I am completely committed to lead the Organization through these difficult tasks in these challenging times to ensure that the maritime sector plays its part to meet the global ambitions and goals.

I look forward to the fruitful discussions 

Thank you!


And now I would like to give the floor to His Excellency the Honourable Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, who will provide us with insight into the opportunities and challenges of the decarbonization of shipping, as well as the expectations for IMO’s work from the perspective of Small Island Development States.