IMO renews commitment to sustainability

25 Jun 2012
Mr Koji Sekimizu, secretary general, IMO. Photo: IMO

Mr Koji Sekimizu, secretary general, IMO. Photo: IMO

On 25 June the IMO publicly renewed its commitment to sustainable development in the maritime industry and gave feedback on its input to the Rio+20 conference held last week in Brazil.

The outcome of the Rio+20 conference last week builds on work started 40 years ago by the international shipping community, said Mr Koji Sekimizu, secretary general, IMO. “History will decide whether what we have done has great value or not.”

The main outcome of the Rio+20 conference was that a text called ‘The Future We Want’ was adopted . It covers the themes of energy, transport, green economy and looks to future implementation by way of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

To create these SDGs, the UN hopes to establish a “transparent intergovernmental process”, a process which will involve input from all stakeholders in the shipping industry.

As a first step towards creating the SDGs, The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will establish a working group and an initial report will be presented at its 68th session.

The Motorship asked if the working group will be focusing on any specific issues that need to be tackled initially. Mr Sekimizu said: “It will not be the working group’s job to focus on specifics but to look at all aspects of sustainable development equally." But, an inter-agency technical support team will report back regularly to the IMO Secretariat.

IMO’s vision for the SDGs includes its seven pillar concept towards sustainable maritime development: Energy efficiency, including technical and operational measures to reduce emissions from ships; new technology and innovation and the promotion of green technology; maritime education and training, maritime security, including anti-piracy initiatives; maritime traffic management and the promotion of marine electric highways; the improvement of maritime infrastructure and lastly; the promotion of global standards.

But the vision now needs firming up. Happily, Rio+20 didn’t set out to approve common goals – it's main task was to look into how to move forward with sustainable development on an international scale.

From this point of view, ‘Future We Want’ is a significant document, it will provide a working framework for decades to come – Mr Sekimizu added it will: “Go beyond millennium development goals.”

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