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Maltese leading role in the adoption of the IMO climate change strategy for shipping

Following years of negotiations, in April 2018, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted a strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships aiming to reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by at least 50 per cent on 2008 levels by 2050. The adoption of the strategy was hailed by inter alia the European Commission (EC) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

The negotiations leading to the eventual adoption of the strategy were among others led by Stefan Micallef, a Maltese national, who is the director of IMO’s Marine Environment Division (MED) and who on January 1, 2018, was also elevated to the position of assistant secretary general of IMO in recognition of his exceptional services to the organisation.

During his long career with the UN, Dr Micallef was credited with various achievements aimed at protecting the marine environment and building the capacities of countries to be able to prevent and respond to marine pollution. However, his greatest achievement is considered to be the adoption of the aforementioned strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. As secretary to IMO’s MEPC, during the last few years, Dr Micallef led the very long and complex negotiations leading to the adoption of the strategy.

During his long career with the UN, Micallef was credited with various achievements

The Maltese national’s leading role in the adoption of this strategy was highlighted and acknowledged during the last meeting of IMO’s MEPC which concluded on April 13 with the adoption of the GHG emissions strategy as well by the IMO Council meeting which met in July 2018. At the end of the MEPC meeting, IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim and several delegates paid tribute to Dr Micallef for his visionary leadership and contribution in the adoption of the strategy.

Moreover, during the last IMO Council meeting in July, the IMO secretary general paid tribute to Dr Micallef’s many successes, crowned by the tremendous achievement, of the adoption of IMO Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions.

“I am certain that you will join me in expressing our gratitude and appreciation for his dedicated and excellent contribution to the mission of IMO and the United Nations family,” he added.

Dr Micallef – who is due to retire from UN service at the end of September following a very distinguished career in the service of the UN spanning 28 years, 25 years of which he served at IMO – started his career in the UN as a programme officer at the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep)/IMO – Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (Rempec), based in Malta. 

He then joined Unep’s Division of Environmental Policy Implementation in Kenya, as chief of the Disaster Management Branch, before moving to the IMO headquarters in London, as head of the Chemical & Air Pollution Prevention Section, and then deputy director of the Sub-Division for Pollution Response and Technical Cooperation of the MED.

He was then appointed director of MED, as well as secretary to the MEPC and administrative secretary of the UN Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection, before being appointed IMO assistant secretary-general.  The Malta Maritime Forum welcomes the great achievements of this Maltese national in the global maritime industry as it only serves to add to the good name of and contribution to the shipping industry by Malta.

While wishing Dr Micallef good prospects for his imminent retirement from the UN, the forum hopes that the Maltese maritime industry would continue to benefit from his knowledge and long experience in the maritime sector.

Godwin Xerri is a board member of the Malta Maritime Forum.

www.mmf.org.mt

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