IMO is a specialized United Nations agency and the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. As such, the Organization contributes to international action to address climate change by regulating GHG emissions from international shipping.

In December 2015, the 21st UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 21) adopted the Paris Agreement. This agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, because of their international nature, international shipping and aviation were not part of this agreement. In the wake of COP 21, IMO, as the regulatory body for the maritime industry, adopted its Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships in April 2018.

IMO actively participates in each COP and other relevant UNFCCC meetings, as appropriate. Find the detail in the sidebar.

IMO reports to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA)

The UNFCCC subsidiary bodies for Implementation (SBI) and for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) meet in parallel, twice a year (during the Climate Change Conference in Spring/Summer and in conjunction with COP in Autumn). When they are not meeting in conjunction with COP, the subsidiary bodies usually convene at the UNFCCC headquarters in Bonn, Germany. IMO updates SBSTA sessions about its latest progress and achievements in addressing GHG emissions from international shipping.