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‘IMO is not slow’ Sec-Gen hits back at critics of decarbonisation pace

Photo: MPAS IMO Sec Gen speaking at Singapore Maritime Lecture
“IMO is not slow”, was the reply of Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez when asked to respond to those impatient with its pace on regulation for decarbonisation of shipping.

Speaking at the Singapore Maritime Lecture the IMO Sec-Gen’s response that the UN governing body was not slow drew laughter from the audience prompting him to repeat himself. “Let me say that loud and clear – the IMO is not slow. It’s 176 member states we all call for level playing fields and no-one being left behind.”

To achieve this at IMO meetings he explained that everyone agrees on the objectives and the goals are set.

“But there are also challenges and concerns and not everyone is on the same level playing field, so we need to address those concerns and we need to see how we can support them.”

There is also a procedural aspect of international law and the IMO has to allow the countries and the industry to prepare, and legislation needs to be passed by individual member parliaments.

“IMO has to prepare additional training and technical cooperation activities for states. So, we are not slow,” he said.

As an example, he cited that the Paris Agreement was agreed in 2015 and in “2018 the IMO became the first UN organisation to set up specific goals through mandatory regulations”.

“That was highlighted as great achievement – a few years later we were told that was not enough,” Dominguez told the audience at the lecture.

An agreement was made in 2018 to revise the strategy five years later based on progress made on initial measures, and technological developments and R&D.

“And now, again, we are the first transport sector that is going to introduce mandatory requirements to meet the goal to decarbonise the shipping sector by around 2050. If that is being slow let us start comparing ourselves with others,” the Sec-Gen stated.