The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has called upon its member states to set ‘bold and ambitious’ goals when adopting an initial strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the global shipping sector next year.

The recommendation was made at IMO’s ongoing 30th assembly session in London, UK, which is currently being attended by more than 1,500 delegates from IMO member states, international governmental and non-governmental organisations.

"Next year really will be a time when the world will expect IMO Member States to deliver a clear vision as the first stage of the approved roadmap."

IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim said: “Next year really will be a time when the world will expect IMO Member States to deliver a clear vision as the first stage of the approved roadmap.

“I urge you, be bold; set ambitious goals that really will make a difference.

“You have a real opportunity here to do something of lasting significance. Make the most of it.”

IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) expects to adopt an initial greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy by April next year.

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The organisation has also outlined several key elements of its new ‘Strategic Plan for the Organisation’ for the period between 2018 and 2023.

The plan is expected to be adopted by the assembly.

Lim further added: “Digital disruption will arrive in the shipping world very soon, and when it does IMO must be ready.

“For me, this means the regulatory framework for shipping must be based firmly around goals and functions rather than prescriptive solutions.

“This is the only way to ensure that measures adopted by IMO are not rendered obsolete by the time-lag between adoption and entry-into-force.

“I know we have already made good steps in that direction, but we must go further and faster in the coming years.”

Among other elements, Lim also highlighted his plan to transform IMO into a ‘knowledge-based organisation’ in order to promote and improve the rule-making process and subsequent implementation procedures.