Focal Points designated by Member Governments (Resolution A.449(XI))

Background information

Resolution A.449(XI) on improved methods and procedures for communication between the Secretary-General and Member Governments was adopted on 15 November 1979, inviting Member States to designate a national authority to serve as the focal point for communication with the Secretary-General, especially for the promotion of speedy accession and implementation of conventions and instruments. 

Role of the Focal Point

In the absence of a Permanent Mission to IMO, Focal Points are the main point of contact to provide the necessary information or alternative contacts for particular subjects. They are contacted on a regular basis by other Member States, as well as by many departments of the Secretariat for different purposes, such as Financial Services, Member State Audit and Technical Cooperation, among others.

There should only be up to two designated Focal Points: one for diplomatic and/or political matters and one for technical matters, which should both be based in their country. Alternatively, there could be one Focal Point only for all matters, also based in the country.

Procedure of appointment

The appointment of Focal Points is strongly encouraged, most specially in cases where a Member State has not established a Permanent Mission to IMO. For new appointments, a communication in the form of a letter addressed to the Secretary-General and signed either by the Permanent Representative to IMO, the Head of Mission in London or the Minister of Foreign Affairs/Minister in charge of IMO matters would be required.

The letter, in addition to providing full contact details of the new Focal Point, should indicate whether the new appointment replaces a previously designated person. Scanned copies of all designations should be sent in advance to the External Relations Office ( to ascertain their good order. The original letter might then be posted or handed to a member of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General or the External Relations Office.

Member States may request further information, including a sample letter facilitating the necessary wording for the appointment of Focal Points, to the External Relations Office.