• 2023 July 25 16:32

    IMO Council appoints Secretary-General, endorses 2024 theme

    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), according to IMO's release. 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.

    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.

    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.

    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 as well as by Member States.

    The 2023 IMO Awards Ceremony is scheduled to take place on Monday 27 November, the first day of the 33rd session of the Assembly.

    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.

    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 C 130, 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).

    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.

    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".

    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 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 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.

    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 unannounced ballistic missile launches across international shipping lanes.




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