Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 74th session, 13-17 May 2019 (closing remarks)


Mr. Chair, excellencies, distinguished delegates and observers,

As we are approaching the end of another busy and fruitful Marine Environment Protection Committee session, the achievements during this week should be recognized with high appreciation. In the interest of time, I will only mention a few of them:

  1. You have successfully completed many important issues to support the consistent implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI. The progress made this week demonstrates IMO's collective commitment to that goal. We as the Secretariat will do our best by facilitating dialogues among stakeholders to help Member States and industries to implement the regulations before they enter into force;

  2. With regard to the IMO Initial Strategy on reduction of GHG, you finalized the procedure to assess the impacts on States of candidate measures. Your work in this session has strengthened the energy efficiency framework by bringing forward the entry into effect date of phase 3 to 2022 for several ship types and enhancing the EEDI reduction rate for containerships;

  3. Another significant development is the approval of a Multi-donor Voluntary Trust Fund to support implementation of the IMO initial GHG strategy. IMO has launched the GreenVoyage-2050 project together with Norway which will assist with the implementation of the initial strategy  and I would hope that several donors would come forward to contribute to this Fund to ensure that no one is left behind;

  4. You have adopted a resolution to invite Member States to encourage voluntary cooperation between port and shipping sectors to contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions from ships

  5. Regarding the BWM Convention you have approved draft amendments to the Convention, including the commissioning testing of ballast water management systems;

  6. Progress related to Marine Plastic litter, includes the terms of reference for the IMO Study on Marine Plastic Litter from Ships and the progress on developing a Strategy to address marine plastic litter from ships. I also note, with great appreciation, the announcement of the proposed Norway funded IMO-FAO GloLitter project, to support the Action Plan; 

  7. You have adopted a number of amendments to MARPOL, the NOx Technical Code, and related Guidelines, that will allow for the first time, the use of electronic record books on board ships.  In addition, your Committee has adopted amendments to the IBC Code, giving rise to new measures that will both improve safety and provide improved prevention mechanisms for chemicals transported in bulk; and

  8. You have approved the thematic priorities for the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) for the 2020-2021 biennium, related to the protection of marine environment. I was pleased to hear your appreciation of the Secretariat's efforts in making good progress in the implementation of the ITCP and major projects.

All these achievements would not have been realized without active cooperation from all of you and I am grateful for your continued collaboration and support for the work of the Organization.

 As MEPC 74 comes to an end, I would like to thank your Chair, Mr. Hideaki Saito of Japan. This has again been a very demanding and difficult session, but, Mr. Chair, you have been successful, once again, in leading the Committee diligently and confidently to achieve consensus in its decisions.  I would also like to thank your Vice-Chair, Mr Harry Conway of Liberia, for his input and valuable support provided throughout this session.

My thanks also go to the Chairs of the various groups that supported the work at this session: Mr. Koichi Yoshida of Japan, Mr. Flavio Fernandes of Brazil, Mr. Holger Steinbock of Germany, Ms. Annalisse Sly of Australia and Mr. Sveinung Oftedal of Norway; and, of course, to the coordinators of the various correspondence groups that have reported to this session.

 Distinguished delegates,

 I wish to pay a special tribute to all the staff of the Marine Environment Division for their tremendous input in the preparation of this session and throughout this week as well as the staff of the Conference, the Legal Affairs and External Relations and the Administrative divisions including the Security team. I also wish to say a special thank you to the interpreters, particularly for the extended work time. I cannot forget the work of the Catering Section, they have coped with serving a large meeting including several functions during the week.

 This is also an opportune moment to thank those delegates who are leaving us for their contributions to the work of the Committee and of the Organization and to wish them all the best for the future.

 I also wish to farewell Mr. Luiz De Andrade Filho of Brazil as he has been posted to a new diplomatic mission overseas. I appreciate Mr. Filho's constructive contribution with so much passion and high diplomatic skills. I wish him all the best.

 Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

 MEPC 74 was yet another memorable session in many aspects. In particular, with regard to climate change policy, you have moved forward with a resilient mind-set and taken steps which represent real progress.

 I wholeheartedly congratulate you and all distinguished delegates for your devoted work.

 It now remains for me to wish you all a nice weekend – and to those who have to travel home a safe journey. And thank you all again for your hard work, cooperation and your continuous support to the work of IMO.

 Thank you.