IMO – the International Maritime Organization
Blog: Tero Jokilehto, Alternate Permanent Representative of Finland to the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
Published 29.2.2016

IMO is Specialized UN Agency.  IMO's Vision is Safe, Secure and Efficient Shipping on Clean Oceans. IMO works closely with other UN Organizations such as ILO (Seafarers, Port issues), FAO (IUU Fishing) and other UN Agencies if and when required. IMO is very cost effective UN Agency. For the past few years IMO has reduced its stuff budget, keeping it at the same level over the last 5-6 years or so. Staff who have reached the age of retirement have not been replaced, instead, the Organization relies increasingly on the use of technology.
 
In the IMO Finland has a shared interest in safeguarding the maritime domain as a whole. This includes ensuring that ships navigating around the world are safe and secure, not forgetting the safety and security of people on board, be they seafarers, passengers, etc. It also includes ensuring that those same ships are efficient and any negative impact they may have on the environment is reduced. These are the interests of most if not all IMO Member States.
 

Along with those shared interests we have common challenges. Ships have become much safer over the years in many ways, but we are all well aware that we cannot rest on our achievements, so we constantly ensure we are up-to-date and implementing the highest possible standards. While ships have become much safer their security requires constant attention, this includes to a certain extent the security of ports as well. The cost of implementation of agreements can be quite high for many countries, that is a challenge as well. But challenges can be also looked as opportunities, to improve our maritime domain and protect our marine environment.
 
IMO has produced some 50 IMO Conventions and Protocols, hundreds of codes, guidelines and recommendations. Almost every aspect of shipping covered. For example Design, Construction, Equipment, Maintenance, Crew and Security. When producing so many things there is always risk of creating unnecessary burden to the shipping. There is also a huge risk of creating unnecessary bureaucracy to the industry. Processes can also create bureaucracy. In the IMO we must keep an eye out for these processes and eliminate when possible. Every time we are doing something routine, we should ask whether it’s really necessary, or if it can be reduced or eliminated. We should also ask if several steps in the IMO work could be cut out to make things quicker.
 

We should keep in our minds what William Shakespeare has said: “Action is eloquence.” Also we should remember Leonardo da Vinci's words: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.