IFAW awarded full consultative status with the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
Following the recommendation of a working group formed of representatives from Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Ghana, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and United States, the Council agreed to convert the consultative status granted to IFAW on a provisional basis to full consultative status. The Group expressed the view that “IFAW’s participation in the work of the IMO has been active and IFAW would, in all likehood, make further contributions, in view of the work programme of the MEPC [Marine Environmental Protection Committee], in particular.
“IFAW’s unique perspective and scientific work are clearly valued by the IMO and with permanent status we will continue to make valuable contributions to the work done by the IMO”, said Veronica Frank, marine campaigner with IFAW.
In the past two years, IFAW has constructively participated in several areas of work of the IMO such as ship collisions with whales; underwater noise pollution; oil spill prevention and Antarctic shipping. In particular, IFAW has been instrumental to the adoption of new programs of work on “minimizing the risks of collisions with cetaceans” and on “Noise from commercial shipping and its adverse impact on marine life” and is working with IMO Government and the industry to develop practical, science-based mitigation measures.
“Today’s decision sends a strong message about the willingness of the shipping world to protect world cetaceans and other marine life and will allow us to continue supporting IMO efforts to reduce the impact of shipping on marine wildlife and develop solutions that benefit both animals and people” added Ms. Frank.
The IMO is the UN agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. Despite the significant progress in international regulations, international shipping still represents a serious threat to whales and marine wildlife. Given the forecasted growth in maritime transport, pressure on marine animals already stressed by other human activities will also increase.