Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 76th session (closing remarks)


by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Mr. Chair, excellencies, distinguished delegates and observers,

We have come to the end of another very busy and challenging MEPC session. I will briefly touch on some important outcomes. 

On GHG matters, you have made significant progress, in particular:

  • the adoption of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI on the short-term measure, containing both technical (EEXI) and operational (CII and CII rating) measures, with the aim to achieve at least 40% reduction of carbon intensity by 2030, as agreed by the Initial GHG Strategy;

  • the adoption of seven related Guidelines to support the implementation of the amendments to MARPOL Annex VI; 

  • the approval and consideration of the outcome of the related comprehensive impact assessment and the decision to keep impacts of the measure under review and to initiate a lessons-learned exercise; and

  • you have started concrete discussions on the mid-/long-term measures, and approved a work plan on a structured way forward, leading up to the revision of the Initial GHG strategy in 2023.  

Distinguished delegates

When I spoke last Thursday at the start of the session, I emphasized the need to make substantial progress. I am very pleased that the Committee has lived up to expectations and delivered short term measures that will take us towards our goals.

I wish to sincerely thank you for the very robust engagement at this session. I deeply appreciate your dedication and spirit of cooperation to ensure that we make progress.

Although there was a clear push for a more ambitious pathway at this stage, your progress will continue to provide the benefit of experience to be able to make ambitious, evidence-based decisions for phase 3 of the implementation of the operational measure, which will be further strengthened and developed taking into account the review of the short-term measure and the latest climate science.

The path to decarbonization is a long, but also a common path in which we need to consider and respect each other’s views. We have made a considerable amount of progress since the start of our journey. Concessions have been made on all sides in the interest of securing the framework we have in place. Our consideration of mid- and long-term measures will demand even more of us. I am very pleased that the Committee has agreed on a work plan to support carrying out this dimension of our work in a structured way that will keep the membership together. 

Agreement on the work plan sends the signal that the Organization and its Member States are ready to further consider the current and future proposals for mid-term measures. We need to gear up work relating to the various phases of the work plan in order to give efficient and adequate consideration to concrete proposals for the reduction of greenhouse gases in keeping with our goals in the initial strategy.  

Let us continue to work together on the tasks we have in front of us as we continue to make progress on this common path.

Distinguished delegates,

Although the issues related to GHG took up most of your time, you also adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex I, concerning the prohibition on the use and carriage for use as fuel of heavy fuel oil by ships in Arctic waters.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to your Chair, Mr. Hideaki Saito of Japan, who once again steered the Committee through its difficult discussions in an impressive manner. I would like to thank your Vice-Chair, Mr Harry Conway of Liberia, for his unfailing support throughout this session, including leading the Steering Group on the Impact Assessment of Short-term Measures and the informal group on Impact assessment related to the resolution on GHG issues.

My thanks also go to the chair of the drafting group, Mr. Holger Steinbock of Germany. I must thank Mr. Sveinung Oftedal of Norway for chairing the ISWG and the informal group that allowed us to reach agreement on our work plan for the consideration of the mid and long-term measures for the reduction of GHG.

Distinguished delegates,

My sincere thanks go to the staff of the Marine Environment Division led by your Secretary, Mr. Hiroyuki Yamada for their dedication not just throughout this week, but during the many months of preparations. I would also like to thank the staff of the Conference Division, and all other Divisions and Departments for their support, and of course also a huge thank you to the interpreters. 

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. 

Before my concluding remarks, I believe you have made an extraordinary effort to make progress, particularly under this challenging time caused by COVID-19 pandemic. You’ve only had 3 hours with interpretation each day. But you have taken enormous decisions this week. I trust you will make more progress in the future. 

The Secretariat and I will do our best to support you in a neutral, balanced and supportive way. 

You work in IMO spirit of compromise and collaboration to make progress.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

It now remains for me to thank you all again for your hard work and dedication to the work of the Organization, and to wish you a very pleasant weekend.

 Thank you.