New IMO Gender Equality Award established

Press Release: The Council agreed to establish an annual IMO Gender Equality Award. The Award will recognize persons, irrespective of their gender and rank, who work in the maritime sector, including governments, industry, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and who have made a verifiable contribution to the empowerment of women in the maritime sector at the national, regional or international level.


The IMO Gender Equality Award would be presented by the Secretary-General at the IMO Headquarters on the occasion of the annual commemoration of the International Day for Women in Maritime.


The International Day for Women in Maritime is held on 18 May. The inaugural day was celebrated in 2022, and the first award will be made in 2024. 


Trust Fund to assist States to attend IMO meetings


The Council approved the establishment of a Voluntary Multi-Donor Trust Fund to Facilitate the Participation of Developing Countries, Especially Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in IMO Meetings.


The Fund aims to provide financial assistance to SIDS and LDCs IMO Member States to participate in GHG-related IMO meetings/negotiations.


Election of next Secretary-General


The Council approved the procedures for holding the election of the Secretary-General at the July 2023 session of the Council (C 129). Applications from candidates for the position of Secretary-General will be invited to reach IMO by 31 March 2023 at the latest.


Following the election in July 2023, the decision of the Council will be submitted to the 33rd session of the Assembly of IMO in late 2023, and the elected Secretary-General will take office on January 1st, 2024.  


Update on the Black Sea Grain Initiative


The Council was provided with an update on the Black Sea Grain Initiative


The Council:


  • encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to work on humanitarian efforts to evacuate all stranded ships and seafarers in the conflict area, including efforts to expand the Black Sea Grain Initiative to other types of ships and additional ports; 
  • thanked the Secretary-General and the Secretariat for the important contribution to the success of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has been achieved through an interagency “One UN approach” involving relevant UN bodies, other international agencies, NGOs and the Member States concerned; and 
  • emphasized the important contribution that the Black Sea Grain Initiative, recognized by the UN Secretary-General as a landmark agreement to help vulnerable people in every corner of the world, is making to alleviate the global food supply shortages resulting from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 


Development of Strategic Plan for 2024 to 2029


The Council initiated the development of the Strategic Plan for the six-year period 2024 to 2029, which will be adopted at the Assembly’s 33rd session (December 2023). A work plan was agreed to further develop the plan, including an intersessional working group.


The current strategic directions are: SD 1 Improve implementation; SD 2 Integrate new and advancing technologies in the regulatory framework; SD 3 Respond to climate change; SD 4 Engage in ocean governance; SD 5 Enhance global facilitation and security of international trade; SD 6 Address the human element; SD 7 Ensure regulatory effectiveness; SD 8 Ensure organizational effectiveness.


Reform – IMO Convention amendments regarding expansion of Council


IMO Member States were encouraged to ratify the 2021 amendments to the IMO Convention as soon as possible to enable the implementation of the reforms agreed. During the Council week, two further acceptances were received, bringing the total-to-date to seven. (Read more here.)

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