Assessment of impacts on States

The Initial IMO GHG strategy recognizes that the impacts on States of a proposed measure should be assessed and taken into account as appropriate, with particular attention paid to the needs of developing countries, especially Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Impact assessments should, inter alia, consider the following areas:

  1. geographic remoteness of and connectivity to main markets;

  2. cargo value and type;

  3. transport dependency;

  4. transport costs;

  5. food security;

  6. disaster response;

  7. cost-effectiveness; and

  8. socio-economic progress and development.

In 2019, MEPC 74 approved a Procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures (MEPC.1/Circ.885). This procedure provides in particular that impact assessment should be "simple, inclusive, transparent, flexible, evidence-based and measure-specific".

Comprehensive impact assessment of the short-term GHG reduction measure

A comprehensive impact assessment of the IMO's short-term GHG reduction measure funded through the IMO GHG TC Trust Fund was undertaken in spring 2021 with the contribution of external stakeholders and carried out under the supervision a Steering Committee composed of 18 volunteer Member States coordinated by the Vice-Chair of MEPC. Following the terms of reference approved by MEPC 75 (November 2020), the tasks and organizations responsible for or supporting each task were agreed by the Steering Committee as follows:

Task 1 - Literature review (World Maritime University);
Task 2 - Assessment of the impact of the measure on the fleet (DNV);
Task 3 - Assessment of the impact of the measure on States (UNCTAD);
Task 4 - Stakeholder analysis (Starcrest);
Task 5 - Identification of areas of missing data (Starcrest);
Task 6 - COVID-19 considerations (Secretariat); and
Task 7 - Disproportionately negative impacts (Secretariat/Steering Committee).

This assessment was submitted to and approved by MEPC 76 in June 2021, before the adoption of the said measure. The full report can be downloaded from IMODOCS (documents MEPC 76/7/13 and MEPC 76/INF.68 and addenda).

Lessons-learned exercise

MEPC 76 agreed to keep under review the impacts on States of the aforesaid amendments to MARPOL Annex VI so that any necessary adjustments can be made, and to initiate a lessons-learned exercise of the comprehensive impact assessment to be completed by December 2022, in view of enhancing a comprehensive impact assessment of IMO's next set of GHG reduction measures.

The process and methodologies used under the comprehensive impact assessment of the short-term measure were considered by MEPC 78 as a solid basis for future comprehensive impact assessments. However, process and methodological elements were proposed to complement the Procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures with a view to review it at MEPC 79.

In response to the findings of the comprehensive impact assessment of IMO's short-term measure, IMO also initiated an IMO project,  funded through the IMO GHG TC Trust Fund, aimed at improving the availability of maritime transport costs data in the Pacific region.

Revised procedure for assessing impacts on States

As a result of the lessons-learned exercise, MEPC 79 approved the Revised procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures (MEPC.1/Circ.885/Rev.1).

This revised procedure confirms the importance of conducting comprehensive impact assessments before adoption of measures, and provides guidance on process and methodological elements for the conduct of comprehensive impact assessments.

Comprehensive impact assessments should comprise of at least the following five distinct but interrelated tasks:

Task 1 - Literature review;
Task 2 - Assessment of impacts of the measure on the fleet;
Task 3 - Assessment of impacts of the measure on States;
Task 4 - Complementary qualitative/quantitative stakeholders' analysis, including relevant illustrative case studies; and
Task 5 - Identification of areas of missing data, quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), uncertainty and sensitivity analyses and integration between various tasks.

The Revised procedure also specifies the establishment, role and function of the Steering Committee overseeing the comprehensive impact assessment.

The Revised procedure will be applied to inform the development of future IMO GHG reduction measures including the basket of mid-term measures. 

MEPC 80 (July 2023) invited the Secretary-General to establish the Steering Committee on the comprehensive impact assessment of the basket of candidate midterm measures, and requested the Steering Committee to conduct the comprehensive impact assessment in accordance with MEPC.1/Circ.885/Rev.1 and agreed terms of reference and to submit its interim report to MEPC 81 for consideration.