One Ocean Summit - Greening Maritime Corridors Forum: From R&D to zero emission ships

One Ocean Summit - Greening Maritime Corridors Forum: From R&D to zero emission ships

Brest, France, 10 February 2022

Speech by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization

Excellencies, Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here in France at this very important Summit.

Shipping is on the cusp of an immense transition to meet the demands for sustainable transport and to address climate change by cutting emissions. IMO adopted the first mandatory global measures to improve ships' energy efficiency more than a decade ago and we have been strengthening those requirements, recognizing the global imperative to do more.

Minister, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and express my appreciation to France for the very active contribution to IMO's work in all its spheres and, in this context, for the work on measures for the reduction of Greenhouse Gases. 

Despite the challenges of COVID and remote meetings, these measures were adopted and will ensure the achievement of the 2030 levels of ambition set out in the Initial IMO GHG Strategy.

France played a key role facilitating a constructive outcome particularly in the development of the short-term GHG reduction measures, adopted in 2021.

This resulted in a comprehensive set of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, which provide important building blocks for IMO's future mid-term GHG measures.

I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the ongoing support from the European Commission to the IMO, towards the regulation of shipping. I invite the Commission and EU Member States to continue to share knowledge and expertise, particularly as IMO Member States work towards the upgrade of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy.

The strengthened revised IMO GHG strategy is set to be adopted in 2023. This essential work must be completed, to set the path for the decarbonization of the shipping industry in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement of 2015 and with a view to the Glasgow Climate Pact adopted at COP 26 – which clearly underscores the need for accelerated action in this critical decade.

Without a doubt, achieving decarbonization ambitions in the shipping sector will rely on a smooth transition to alternative low- and zero-carbon marine fuels.

I am encouraged to see many initiatives and projects worldwide on alternative low- and zero- carbon fuels. Early movers, including prominent French ship owners and other maritime stakeholders in France, are already in the process of ordering, building and retrofitting ships using low/zero carbon fuels.

IMO is supporting these efforts by working on a global regulatory framework that addresses both the safety requirements for these future marine fuels as well as developing new and innovative mechanisms that can incentivize the uptake of low-carbon fuels.

The transition cuts across all aspects of shipping – from the supply and use of fuels, to safety matters, port operations and training of seafarers. The trials on use of zero-carbon maritime fuels will support a safe transition

We need everyone who is involved to be active in sharing their knowledge and experiences, to support the implementation of the strategy and the measures adopted by IMO.

As shipping makes the transition it is important to ensure that the journey is inclusive and global. To be effective, measures must be adopted and implemented on a global basis, this will ensure that we avoid market distortions and prevent the creation of loopholes that will defeat our ultimate aim.

The maritime sector needs to ensure a just and equitable transition that also recognizes the need for skills and technology development in developing countries.

Shipping is global. Decarbonization presents an opportunity to get the transition right and encourage all States to be included. This should not be a transition which leaves any one behind. We need to listen and understand the concerns of all States.

I am pleased to hear about numerous initiatives worldwide which are promoting and trialing greener shipping.

Indeed, we have already seen France along with other Member States bring their experience on promoting wind propulsion, biofuels and utilizing green ammonia to IMO, so that such developments are incorporated into the framework of the Energy Efficiency Design Index. These are great examples of how IMO brings together Member States in an inclusive way, for better regulation.

I see great opportunities for developing countries in the production and supply of low-carbon fuels. IMO is supporting developing countries through technical assistance for the implementation of measures and a number of global projects across the globe to support innovation and R&D. No one should be left behind on this journey.   

As you may know, this year's World Maritime Theme is "New Technologies for greener shipping", highlighting IMO's commitment to support a green transition of the maritime sector into a sustainable future. The theme provides an opportunity for the entire Organization - as well as the whole maritime sector - to focus on the importance of new technologies to building back better and greener in a post-pandemic world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to conclude by highlighting our strong connection to the theme of this Summit. The conservation of the oceans is at the heart of IMO's endeavours. The work of IMO in preventing pollution from shipping operations, protecting biodiversity and sensitive marine areas, reducing air pollution, reducing marine plastic litter and cutting emissions to support the fight against climate change are all aimed at conserving the oceans.

The green credentials of the shipping sector must be further enhanced.

IMO's ongoing work to decarbonize the shipping sector is firmly embedded in the 2018 IMO Initial GHG Strategy and the commitment already agreed at the Organization to strengthen the ambition levels to meet global objectives to protect our planet and leaving no one behind.

The Glasgow Climate Pact adopted at COP 26 clearly underscores the need for accelerated action in this critical decade.

IMO is committed to continue providing the global forum for discussions on the revision of the Strategy and proposals for additional GHG reduction measures, including possible market-based measures, to provide the framework for the maritime industry's clear response to the urgency expressed at COP 26 by Spring 2023.

We need your support for that process and the commitment to work with governments and industry from all regions of the world for positive change. This summit will no doubt contribute immensely to the effort.

Thank you.