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IMO responds to “corporate capture” claim

26 Oct 2017, 9.06 pm GMT

IMO responds to "corporate capture" claim

New York, 26 October (Argus) — The UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO), the global regulator of shipping, responded to accusations made by a UK-based non-profit that shipping company interests that are opposed to more stringent emissions limits have "captured" the IMO's regulatory process.

Current IMO regulation, which is legally binding, states that allowable CO2 emission levels must decrease every five years and that by 2025 all new build vessels must be at least 30pc more efficient in their class than a 2000-2010 baseline.

The clash comes as IMO member states convene this week to further develop strategy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in shipping.

"As is the case in other UN agencies of a technical nature, the make-up of national delegations to IMO is entirely a matter for the countries themselves, and those countries who wish to include industry technical experts or others may do so", said Kitack Lim, the IMO's secretary-general, after acknowledging the existence of media reports questioning the transparency and inclusiveness of the IMO's approach to climate change.

Earlier this week, London-based Influencemap criticized the extent to which corporate influences help shape environmental regulations produced by the IMO.

Trade associations in the shipping industry that are represented at the IMO "have lobbied to delay greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures for shipping until 2023 and rejected any binding emissions targets", said the non-profit.

The non-profit said at the most recent IMO environmental meeting 31pc of nations were represented in part by direct business interests, which it says is not the norm in groups in the UN.

Unlike at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), corporations and trade associations are permitted to attend IMO meetings as formal state delegation representatives and may submit policy agenda recommendations, said the non-profit.

"The IMO appears the only UN agency to allow such extensive corporate representation in the policy making process", said Influencemap.

But Lim does not see the inclusion of these groups as inhibiting factors to reaching the IMO's goals. "The IMO currently has consultative arrangements with 77 non-governmental organizations. They include environmental groups, seafarer organizations, and groups representing classification societies, shipbuilders and owners of different types of ships", he said. "This inclusiveness is one of IMO's great strengths".

The IMO's role is to "create a level playing-field so that ship operators cannot address their financial issues by simply cutting corners and compromising on safety, security and environmental performance", according to its website.

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