IMO at COP 26

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IMO participation at COP 26 (see also COP 26 side events)

Event Organizer/participation Day/time Location Further information
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA)IMO Secretariat to update on IMO's work under agenda item 10(g) – "Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport".31 October-6 NovemberConference venue https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/glasgow-climate-change-conference
Managing Biofouling – A Win-Win Solution to Help Curb Climate Change and Preserve Ocean Biodiversity Official side event: IMO Glofouling partnerships, BIMCO-IOGP-ICSThursday 4 November, 3-4.15Forth Room, Blue zone GloFouling Partnerships Project (imo.org)
Shaping the future of shipping conferenceICS /IMO Secretary-General to participate Saturday 6 NovemberUniversity of Strathclyde's Technology and Innovation Centre Event programme | International Chamber of Shipping (ics-shipping.org)
IMO Event - details to followIMOTuesday 9 November, 5.00 pm (TBC)City of Glasgow CollegeTo follow
IMO: Seizing opportunities for developing countries in providing zero-carbon fuels to global shipping Official side event: IMO, UNCTAD, WBWednesday 10 November, 3.00 pm-4.15pmForth Room, Blue zoneTo follow
Maritime decarbonisationUnited Kingdom with IMO Secretary-General Wednesday, 10 November, 3.30 pm UK Pavilion, Blue zoneTo follow
Maritime decarbonisationUnited Kingdom with potential IMO participation TBCWednesday, 10 November, 3.45 pmUK Pavilion, Blue zoneTo follow
The IMO-European Union GMN (Global Maritime Network of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres) project Official side event: GMN project, TBCWednesday, 10 November, time TBCBlue zone GMN (imo.org)
The IMO Pavilion can be found in Hall 5.

IMO’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions from shipping

In pursuing its mission – safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans – IMO works vigorously and consistently towards developing a comprehensive regulatory regime aimed at protecting the marine environment.

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As stated by its Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, the IMO community is highly committed to tackling climate change. The Organization's strategic plan for 2018-2023 firmly supports the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Developments Goals and identifies as one of IMO's main directions the need to develop ambitious and realistic solutions to minimize shipping's contribution to air pollution in response to climate change.

The Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships (the Initial Strategy) was adopted in April 2018. It set out IMO's commitment to reducing carbon intensity per transport work by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050, and total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 and work towards phasing them out as soon as possible.

IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has been dedicating an integral part of its agenda to reducing GHG emissions from ships since 2010. Ten years ago, IMO adopted the first mandatory climate mitigation measures applicable to an entire industry sector globally. Building upon this regulatory framework, as developed and strengthened over the years, MEPC 76 adopted in June 2021  a short-term carbon intensity reduction measure which combines technical and operational approaches to improve the energy efficiency of ships, thereby reducing their GHG emissions. MEPC also approved a work plan for the development of mid- and long-term measures aiming at achieving the levels of ambition agreed.

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An Intersessional Working Group on reduction of GHG emissions from ships (ISWG-GHG) has been set up by MEPC. It held its 9th session in September 2021 focussing on the development of lifecycle assessment guidelines for maritime fuels, and will met again in October 2021 for its 10th session with a view to, inter alia, consider mid-term GHG reduction measures proposals.

IMO's commitments do not just remain aspirational targets but lay down a binding regulatory framework that applies to the world fleet and is enforced globally. As they apply worldwide, IMO regulations provide a global level playing field without distortion of specific trade flows and agreements, and as such do not lead to carbon leakage or to sub-optimal shipping in certain parts of the world.

IMO's action to assist States in the transition

Member States are also invited within the IMO framework to take action to develop and update voluntary National Action Plans (NAP) with a view to contributing to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping by supporting actions at national level.

With the aim of leaving no one behind, IMO promotes technical cooperation and transfer of technology  relating to the improvement of energy efficiency of ships through the Organization or between Parties to the MARPOL convention (MARPOL Annex VI Reg. 29). In that respect, IMO provides support to Member States, especially developing States, that request technical assistance and capacity building to implement the Initial Strategy. This action is funded by a multi-donor trust fund (GHG TC-Trust Fund) established in May 2019.

It is against this backdrop that IMO will participate in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, UK, starting on 31 October 2021. An update of IMO's work to address GHG emissions from fuel used for international shipping will be provided to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) under agenda item 10(g) – "Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport".

IMO's objectives for COP 26

IMO's main objectives for the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP 26) are in all communications seek to make clear that:

  • international shipping is indispensable to the world and is a vital industry to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals; and
  • as its track record to date so clearly demonstrates, IMO is the appropriate international body to continue work to address GHG emissions from ships engaged in international trade.