The IMO Council has decided to appoint Mr. Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco (Republic of Panama) as IMO Secretary-General, for an initial four-year term from 1 January 2024, following a vote. The Council was meeting for its 129th session (17-21 July).
Amongst other agenda items, the Council endorsed the World Maritime Theme for 2024: “Navigating the future: safety first!”; decided to award the International Maritime Prize for 2022 to Ms. Anneliese Jost of Germany; and decided to bestow the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea on Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Caleb Halle, Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, United States Coast Guard (USCG), nominated by the United States.
Appointment of Secretary-General
The Council decided to appoint Mr. Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco (Republic of Panama) as IMO Secretary-General, for an initial four-year term from 1 January 2024, following a vote.
The decision of the Council is subject to approval by the IMO Assembly, which meets for its 33rd session from 27 November to 6 December 2023.
World Maritime theme 2024: “Navigating the future: safety first!”
The Council endorsed the World Maritime Theme for 2024: “Navigating the future: safety first!”. The theme reflects IMO’s work to enhance maritime safety and security, in tandem with the protection of the marine environment, whilst ensuring its regulatory development process safely anticipates the fast pace of technological change and innovation.
International Maritime Prize – Ms. Anneliese Jost of Germany
The Council decided to award the International Maritime Prize for 2022 to Ms. Anneliese Jost of Germany.
The Council recognized Ms. Jost’s invaluable contribution, extending over many years, to the work and objectives of the Organization and to the international maritime community as a whole.
In addition, the Council decided to award Captain David J. F. Bruce of the Marshall Islands a special certificate to honour his contribution to the work of IMO.
IMO Honours for Exceptional Bravery at Sea
The Council decided to bestow the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea on Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Caleb Halle, Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, United States Coast Guard (USCG), nominated by the United States.
Mr. Halle will receive the Award in recognition of his outstanding courage, endurance and determination displayed in the rescue of seven crew members of the tugboat Legacy, which was disabled and adrift, in rough weather and heavy seas, in January 2023.
Updated Assembly resolution on Special recognition for merchant vessels and their crew involved in the rescue of mixed migrants at sea
The Council approved a revised draft Assembly resolution on Special recognition for merchant vessels and their crew involved in the rescue of mixed migrants at sea to allow the submission of nominations by intergovernmental organizations in cooperation with IMO (IGOs) and NGOs and by Member States.
IMO Awards Ceremony
The 2023 IMO Awards Ceremony is scheduled to take place on Monday, 27 November, the first day of the 33rd session of the Assembly.
Budget proposals for 2024-2025 endorsed
The Council approved, in principle, the regular budget outline for the 2024-2025 biennium of £83,583,000, comprising an appropriation of £40,908,000 for 2024 and an appropriation of £42,675,000 for 2025. The proposed budget will be submitted to the IMO Assembly for adoption.
Strategic Plan for 2024-2029 endorsed
The Council agreed, in principle, on the draft Strategic Plan for the six-year period 2024 to 2029 consisting of the mission statement, vision statement, overarching principles, and strategic directions 1 to 8. The draft will be submitted to a Working Group on the Strategic Plan to meet during C130 to finalize the draft for the C130 session. C 130 will then submit the plan to the IMO Assembly for adoption.
The eight strategic directions are:
- SD 1 Improve implementation of IMO instruments supported by capacity development
- SD 2 Integrate new, emerging, and advancing technologies in the regulatory framework
- SD 3 Respond to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping
- SD 4 Continue to engage in ocean governance
- SD 5 Enhance global facilitation, supply chain resilience, and security of international trade
- SD 6 Address the human element
- SD 7 Ensure regulatory effectiveness of international shipping
- SD 8 Ensure organizational effectiveness
The Council agreed, in principle, on the inclusion of relevant performance indicators, and agreed to finalize them at a Working Group during C 130. The Council invited the Joint ILO-IMO Tripartite Working Group, which is set to meet later in 2023, to explore potential ways to facilitate the collection of data on bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH).
Reform – live streaming of IMO meetings
The open-ended Working Group on Council Reform discussed measures to enhance access to information and transparency, including live streaming of IMO meetings. The Council endorsed the recommendation of the Group to recommend to the Assembly to decide to live-stream to the public its public plenary meetings at the beginning of the Assembly 33rd session (27 November to 6 December 2023).
The Council noted that further information was needed in order to develop criteria and procedures for the selection of meetings, or parts thereof, that should be live-streamed to the public. The Secretariat was requested to seek further information on rules and practices in other UN system organizations.
Multilingualism – draft Assembly resolution agreed
The Council agreed a draft Assembly resolution on enhancing multilingualism at IMO for adoption by the Assembly.
The Council agreed to include on its agenda a new output on “Consideration for the enhancement and improvement of multilingualism and the language services at IMO.”
Parallel event in Iran
Following a vote, a proposal to rescind the Council’s decision to accept the offer made by the Islamic Republic of Iran to host the World Maritime Day Parallel Event in 2023 was approved.
The Council was provided with an update on the situation of seafarers and shipping in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and the disruption to the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Council took note of the information provided by the Secretariat and the comments made by delegations in plenary and expressed deep regret about the disruption to the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s ongoing support to the UN’s efforts to find solutions to restore safe navigation in the North-Western part of the Black Sea, which is of critical importance to the global supply chain and food security.
The Council welcomed the efforts of Ukraine aimed at safeguarding safety, stability, and freedom of international navigation in the North-Western part of the Black Sea and preventing a global food crisis.
The Council reiterated the demand that the Russian Federation cease its unlawful activities to ensure the safety and welfare of seafarers, the security of international shipping and the marine environment in all affected areas, and respect its obligations under relevant international treaties. The Council further called on the Russian Federation to refrain from threatening international supply chains that support other countries and provide food, medicine, and basic necessities for the people of Ukraine.
The Council reiterated its call upon all parties to seek to resolve the crisis through peaceful dialogue and diplomatic channels and to work together to ensure the sustainability and continuity of international supply chains.
Missile launches across international shipping lanes
The Council reiterated the actions reflected in the Maritime Safety Committee resolution MSC.531(107) on Strengthening measures for ensuring the safety of international shipping.
The Council further urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to cease unlawful and unannounced ballistic missile launches across international shipping lanes.
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