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Mitropoulos 'confident' shipping can improve fuel efficiency

IMO Secretary-General says shipping can reduce its carbon footprint with 'carefully crafted measures'.

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Updated on 25 Nov 2009 08:37 GMT

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has worked diligently and thoroughly towards the goals and objectives identified in its Strategic and High-Level Action Plans, and has also been able to react swiftly and decisively to whatever new problems and unforeseen challenges have emerged, Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos told delegates this week at the 26th session of the Organization's governing body, the Assembly.

The meeting is being attended by more than 1,000 delegates from IMO Member States as well as international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Reviewing the previous biennium, he added that, in spite of the inherent difficulties of a continuously and rapidly changing landscape, the Organization had displayed an ability to master situations as they emerge rather than allowing itself to be mastered by them.

Referring to the forthcoming Copenhagen conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), the Secretary-General reminded delegates that, in July, IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) progressed work on a package of technical and operational measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, which, together with a parallel consideration of market-based instruments, will be refined in the coming year with a view to defining their scope of application and enactment.

"I am confident that, through a combination of carefully crafted measures and instruments, shipping can enhance its energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint to the benefit of the environment," he said.

"It is my hope that, when transport emissions are discussed in Copenhagen, the peculiarities of shipping (as an industry uniquely international in character, which is, to a great extent, registered in developing countries) are taken fully into account - and also that, against IMO's excellent track record on environmental issues, the Organization continues to be entrusted with the regulation of shipping while pursuing, with consistency and an admirable sense of responsibility, its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping operations," he added.

Mr. Mitropoulos urged delegates to consider favourably a draft resolution on the further development of the Organization's Member State audit scheme, principally aiming at moving the scheme from its current voluntary form to an institutionalized process within the respective IMO treaty instruments, thus providing an opportunity for all Members to enhance their capacity to implement and enforce all the relevant IMO treaties.

"So far, the audit scheme has proven its worth in many ways and I am convinced that a decision to make it universally applicable to all Member States will enhance safety and environmental protection, while contributing substantially to improving their performance as flag, port and coastal States and to the Organization attaining its objectives," Mr. Mitropoulos said.

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