Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 78th session (closing remarks)

CLOSING REMARKS BY KITACK LIM  SECRETARY-GENERAL at Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 78th session  

Mr. Chair, excellencies, distinguished delegates and observers,

We are at the end of the seventy-eighth session of MEPC.

And while we will resume in-person meetings this September, it was inspiring to see so many delegates participating in this virtual meeting from the Main Hall here at IMO.

I would like to thank all of you for your commitment in participating here at IMO this week facilitating communication and consultations.

This meeting week has once again been busy but also very productive and I will just highlight some of your achievements during this session.

On matters related to greenhouse gas emissions, you made further progress with the discussions towards the revision of the Initial GHG Strategy, as initiated during MEPC 77 and building on the successful outcomes of the eleventh and twelfth sessions of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG). I am encouraged by your commitment to finalize the revision of the Initial Strategy at MEPC 80 and increase the levels of ambition, whilst taking into account the needs of developing States, in particular SIDS and LDCs.

I am pleased that recognizing the vital importance of the Organization's leadership on these matters, you have agreed to the convening of further sessions of the ISWG to ensure that the momentum is kept.

You also approved a set of guidelines, finalized by the Intersessional Working Group, which will support the implementation of carbon intensity measures by providing additional clarity on these regulations.

Continued constructive dialogue and achievements are a true testament to the spirit of cooperation that prevails here in the Committee. As you all know the world is watching and therefore, we need to continue to deliver through concrete ambitious outcomes in the years ahead.

Distinguished delegates,

With regard to ballast water management, you have agreed to the development of a Convention Review Plan and established a Correspondence Group on Review of the BWM Convention, whose first task is to finalize the Convention Review Plan that will determine the direction of the Organization's work towards a holistic review of this Convention.

You also approved a set of updated guidelines in support of the recent amendments to the AFS Convention; adopted draft amendments to MARPOL Annex V to make the Garbage Record Book mandatory also for ships of 100 gross tonnage and above and less than 400 gross tonnage; and agreed to develop mandatory goal-based requirements for marking of fishing gear.

And the approval of draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to designate the Emission Control Area for sulphur oxides and particulate matter for the Mediterranean Sea, with a view to adoption at MEPC 79 (12-16 December 2022).

Distinguished delegates,

I would like to express my profound appreciation to the Committee's Vice-Chair, Mr. Harry Conway of Liberia, who had to step in at short notice and chair this session. I am sure that you join me in expressing our gratitude for his efforts in ably steering the Committee's discussions through the complex agenda.

During the week, you also established a drafting group, a technical group and a review group, and my thanks go to the chairs of these groups, namely Mr. Holger Steinbock of Germany, Mr. Koichi Yoshida of Japan, and Ms. Leanne Page of the United Kingdom.

Regarding Mr. Yoshida, I understand this is his last participation in the meetings of the Committee, and I would like to particularly thank him for the years of contribution and dedication in supporting the work of MEPC, particularly in his role for many years as Chair of the Air Pollution Working Group. This is not a goodbye from IMO as I understand he will still be involved in other matters.

Distinguished delegates,

My sincere thanks go to the staff of the Marine Environment Division who have, as always, worked tirelessly before and during this meeting. This was the first MEPC session under the leadership of Mr. Arsenio Dominguez, who took up his duties as Director of the Division at the beginning of this year.

I would also like to thank the staff of the Conference Division, the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, and all other Divisions and Departments for their support, and of course also thank you to the interpreters.

My special thanks go to the cafeteria staff, who had such a busy week again, with so many delegates following MEPC from IMO. It was heartening to see so many delegates coming together for lunch this week!

As is customary, the end of this Committee session is also a moment to thank those delegates who are leaving us. Their contribution to the work of the Committee and of the Organization is sincerely appreciated, and I wish them all the best for the future.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

It now remains for me to thank all of you once again for your commitment and hard work this week, and for your continued dedication to the work of the Organization. I wish you all a restful weekend.

Thank you.