IMO says GHG goals should be ambitious

Secretary-General of IMO Kitack Lim Kitack Lim: “We are in the era of digitalization and at the United Nations level we are already looking at frontier issues that include emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, and the benefits they could have in society as a whole, and to remain relevant"

Member states have been told they should set ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals at the IMO’s 30th assembly session.

Secretary-General Kitack Lim urged member states to seize the opportunity when they adopt an initial strategy for reducing GHG emissions from international shipping in 2018.

Outlining the key elements of the new ‘Strategic Plan for the Organization’ for 2018 to 2023, Mr Lim stated the focus should now be on “more effective rule-making and implementation processes by integrating new and advancing technology to respond to our challenges, among others, to increase ship safety, including addressing new emerging technologies such as autonomous vessels, our contribution to combat climate change, engagement in ocean governance, mitigation of cyber-crimes, and facilitation of international trade…”

Goal-based regulatory framework

Climate change, digital disruption and sustainable development were cited as key focus areas for the IMO, which needs to be ready for digital disruption in the shipping world with a regulatory framework based around goals and functions.

“This is the only way to ensure that measures adopted by IMO are not rendered obsolete by the time-lag between adoption and entry-into-force,” he warned.

He also highlighted his ambition to transform IMO into a “knowledge based organisation”, with more detailed and deeper analysis of statistics and data to support and improve the rule making process and enhance implementation embracing data in the Secretariat’s work and in the decision-making processes.

Emerging technologies

“We are in the era of digitalisation and at the United Nations level we are already looking at frontier issues that include emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, and the benefits they could have in society as a whole, and to remain relevant,” Mr Lim said.

IMO’s work to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated Sustainable Development Goals was also addressed, with Mr Lim emphasising that “aspects of IMO’s work can be linked to almost all of the individual SDGs”, due to the instrumental role that sustainable transport will play.

IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is set to adopt an initial GHG strategy in April 2018.

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