Sat | Dec 14, 2019

IMO: crossroads, changes and challenges ahead of 2020

Published:Tuesday | December 3, 2019 | 12:09 AM

A delegation of maritime and ministry official from Jamaica have joined more than 1,700 delegates from International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Member States, international governmental and non-governmental organisations who have registered to attend the 31st session of the IMO Assembly. It is taking place from November 25 to December 4, 2019.

The Secretary-General of the IMO, Kitack Lim, opened the Organisation’s 31st Assembly session, calling for concrete action to address climate change and other challenges.

“In so many areas, we are now at a crossroads. In the next biennium, IMO will need to deliver tangible and concrete action – to ensure our strategies, plans and road maps are achieved. I am confident that, together, we can succeed,” Lim said.

“While we always have to and will – deliver on the mission of IMO to ensure maritime safety and security, environmental protection and the efficiency of shipping, we are also facing key challenges, such as the tangible threats from climate change, a universal effort to steer our world into a future of sustainable development, the increasing benefits and risks from digitalisation and the need to preserve our oceans,” Secretary-General Lim told the plenary hall at IMO Headquarters in London. “The shipping industry is going through fundamental changes as it responds to these challenges.”

Lim highlighted the efforts made by IMO Member States and all stakeholders to pave the way for a harmonised and smooth entry into force of the global sulphur limit, referred to as “IMO 2020”. This will cut sulphur oxide emissions from ships substantially. “I am sure that, in 2020, all of you will continue to support our efforts and co-operation to ensure the smooth implementation of this important, global regulatory standard,” he said.

Lim noted that the Assembly will hear reports on the Organisation’s work over the past two years and will be requested to approve the work programme and the necessary budget to deliver this programme for the next biennium, as well as to elect a new Council to administer IMO until the next Assembly.

A number of Assembly resolutions will be adopted, including one on preserving the legacy of the World Maritime theme 2019 and achieving a barrier-free working environment for women in the maritime sector. This will build on numerous efforts during 2019 to promote gender equality. “With this resolution, you point the way for future efforts on gender equality,” Lim said.

Perhaps in concord with the theme of the IMO in 2019- Empowering women in the Maritime Community- the Assembly elected Ms. Nomatemba Tambo, High Commissioner of South Africa to the United Kingdom as its President while Enna Park, permanent representative of the Republic of Korea to IMO was elected first vice president. Ivan Romero-Martinez, permanent representative of Honduras to IMO was elected second vice president.

The IMO General Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organisation. It also elects the organisation’s 40-member Council.

There is officials attending the assembly from Jamaica.