Weak governance at UN shipping agency delaying action on climate change

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is at risk of unresolved conflicts of interest due to shortcomings in its governance, according to preliminary key findings of a new study by Transparency International.

Private shipping-industry concerns could have undue influence over the policymaking process at the IMO, concluded the anti-corruption organisation. This could undermine the UN agency’s ability to effectively regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from maritime trade. According to a report by the European Parliament, the shipping industry could contribute up to 17% of global CO2 emissions by 2050 if left unregulated.

Transparency International’s study, which will be published in full in May 2018, assesses three dimensions of the IMO’s governance structure: transparency, accountability and integrity. A summary report released today raises serious concerns:

The report however notes that even in the absence of a comprehensive access to information policy, transparency about the IMO’s administration is high, and that information about the remit, powers and rules of procedure of its assembly, council and committees is easily accessible. The IMO itself is not responsible for who member states appoint to their delegations.

“The IMO was assigned the task of limiting and reducing emissions from shipping under the Kyoto Protocol back in 1997,” said Brice Böhmer, coordinator of the Climate Governance Integrity Program at Transparency International. “However, it took until 2016 for the IMO to even agree on a roadmap towards an initial strategy, due in 2018, and a revised strategy, due only in 2023. A well-functioning organisation’s governance structure should enable decisive action, but the governance flaws identified by our research suggests that this is not happening at the IMO because policy-making could be overly controlled by private companies.”

Transparency International urges the IMO to establish a stronger governance framework. The agency should engage in a transparent process of open dialogue with its external stakeholders (including civil society and industry), to improve transparency, ensure decision-making processes reflect the public interest, and apply robust integrity rules and measures.

There should be no delay on action to combat climate change. The Intersessional Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships meeting in London today should set ambitious targets for reducing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, and begin taking measurable action now.

 “A guiding principle of UN system is that member states must represent citizens’ interests. At the IMO, this could end up being undermined by corporate participation in the place of nation states,” said Rueben Lifuka, vice chair of Transparency International and an environmental consultant. “The IMO has an integral role in helping the shipping industry meet UN Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate change, and Goal 14 on oceans. Ultimately, it must reform its governance structure to promote transparency and ensure the voices of citizens – alongside industry – are heard.”

The summary report is available here.

Notes to editors:

Methodology

For this governance assessment Transparency International adapted an existing methodology (“Global Climate Finance: An anti-corruption and governance mapping and assessment toolkit”) developed under Transparency International’s Climate Governance Integrity Programme. It uses nine indicators to provide a qualitative analysis of the governance strengths and weaknesses of the IMO (two for transparency, five for accountability and two for integrity). This assessment is part of a series of past and future similar governance assessments of other organisations. See an example here.

Climate Governance Integrity

Through the Climate Governance Integrity Programme, Transparency International is actively contributing to promoting anti-corruption, transparency, accountability and public oversight in the development and implementation of global and national climate policy and processes.


For any press enquiries please contact

Michael Hornsby
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: +49 (0)30 34 38 20 666

Nadja Kostka
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 
T: +49 (0)30 34 38 20 54

Latest

Support Transparency International

La Justicia española debe investigar el lavado de imagen de Azerbaiyán en Europa

Tres políticos españoles —Pedro Agramunt, Agustín Conde Bajén y Jordi Xuclá— se encuentran entre los delegados ante la Asamblea Parlamentaria del Consejo de Europa (APCE) sobre los que pesan sospechas de haberse beneficiado con la maniobra del “Laundromat”.

International Anti-Corruption Day 2018: The power of people’s pressure

Across the world, Transparency International chapters work hard to help the public become involved and engaged in the fight against corruption.

Clean up Spain – Justice for Azerbaijan’s reputation laundering in Europe

In Azerbaijan, critical voices are routinely suppressed. Meanwhile in Europe, politicians suspected of helping whitewash Azerbaijan’s record on human rights enjoy impunity. Join our campaign to urge authorities in Spain to investigate.

Everything you need to know about the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (#18IACC)

The #18IACC will take place from 22-24 October in Copenhagen, Denmark under the theme Together for Development, Peace and Security: Now is the Time to Act. Get the latest info and updates here!

Risky business: Europe’s golden visa programmes

Are EU Member States accepting too much risk in their investor migration schemes?

Future Against Corruption Award 2018

TI is calling on young people across the globe to join the anti-corruption movement. People between the age of 18 and 35 are invited to submit a short video clip presenting their idea on new ways to fight corruption. Three finalists will be invited to Berlin during the International Anti-Corruption Day festivities to be awarded with the Future Against Corruption Award.

The Azerbaijani Laundromat one year on: has justice been served?

In September last year, a massive leak of bank records from 2012 to 2014 showed that the ruling elite of Azerbaijan ran a $3 billion slush fund and an international money laundering scheme. One year on, has enough been done to hold those involved to account?

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media