IMO Council 2021 – Sweden seeks election in Category B for the period 2022-2023

View of Stockholm

At the 32nd session of the Assembly of the IMO, Sweden seeks election to the Council of the IMO under the provisions of Article 17 (b) of the IMO Convention.

As a country located in the very northern part of the hemisphere with a long coastline, few land borders and a large archipelago, Sweden holds a long tradition as a maritime nation. Sweden is dependent on seaborne trade, 90 percent of the import and export being transported by sea. Shipping and ports are therefore of vital importance for the entire Swedish society.

The Swedish commitment to the IMO is long-standing and Sweden became a member of the Organization in 1959. As a firm believer in the objectives and the work of the IMO, Sweden has constructively and dedicatedly participated in the work of the Organization for over six decades.

If elected member to the IMO Council, Sweden will particularly focus on the following:

  • To promote the objectives of the World Maritime University which enables international maritime rulemaking and implementation. Read more about World Maritime University and global commitment.

  • To ensure continuous good governance and that the IMO is a transparent, efficient and inclusive Organization. Read more about Good Governance.

  • To prepare shipping to be fit for the future, e.g. by adapting to increased digitalization, climate change and external factors, and by promoting gender equality. Read more about Shipping fit for the future.

  • To continue to support the work of the IMO at all levels of the organization.
    Read more about Sweden and the IMO.

World Maritime University and global commitment

Since 1983 when the World Maritime University (WMU) was inaugurated, Sweden has been the proud host state. The WMU was founded by the IMO to further enhance the objectives and goals of the IMO. As of 2021, 5,392 Graduates from 170 countries across the globe have graduated from the WMU.

The aim of the WMU is to be a center of excellence for postgraduate maritime education and to provide advanced training for men and women, in particular from developing countries, who are involved in maritime administration, education and management. Sweden is proud to be hosting and contributing to such a significant maritime institution, which aligns with the Swedish long-standing engagement in international development cooperation.

Through the WMU, the IMO is able to assist countries to improve their ability to comply with international rules and standards relating to maritime safety and the prevention and control of marine pollution from ships, giving priority to technical assistance programmes that focus on human resources development and institutional capacity-building. Sweden recognizes that, by fostering future maritime administrators and leaders the WMU contributes substantially to the universal dimension of the mission of the IMO, i.e. safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

Sweden is a major contributor to the WMU. At present, the yearly financial support by Sweden to the University stands at 28.2 million SEK, which equals approximately 3.1 million dollars. In addition to a yearly financial support, Sweden provides free-of-charge premises for the WMU, located in the city of Malmö, Sweden.
Sweden is a strong advocate of international solidarity and cooperation. The support to the WMU is part of the Swedish global commitment to developing work and the UN System as a whole. Sweden is the fourth largest financial donor to the UN system. The total Swedish contribution to the UN system amounts to approximately SEK 12.7 billion (USD 1.4 billion).

Good governance

In order for the IMO to effectively achieve its goals and objectives, it is important to maintain good governance of the Organization and ensure transparency, efficiency and inclusiveness.

Sweden believes that good governance within the IMO provides a framework that enhances mutual trust between the member states and the Organization. Good governance also provides accountability and predictability in the decision-making process. Sweden is convinced that good governance of the IMO results in better regulations for the maritime sector as it allows equal participation of member states in international discussion.

Sweden will continue to work for enhanced transparency, openness and inclusiveness in the IMO. For Sweden it is important that the IMO allow all States to be heard, and that all specific interests be attended to, and Sweden will continue its efforts in this regard.

Shipping fit for the future

Shipping as a mode of transportation has transformed and adapted to the evolvement of society for centuries. It is essential that the maritime sector continue to adapt to the developments of the international society. To best serve the maritime industry, Sweden believes that it is essential that the shipping sector has the tools to adapt to a changing world.

Digitalization and innovation

Sweden believes that the maritime sector will benefit by adapting to the digital age. The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of digitalization and agile adaptation to new reforms. From a Swedish perspective, it is vital that the maritime sector adapts according to digital solutions. Sweden, as one of the forerunners in introducing goal based standards, has great experience in the development of rules that are agile and adaptable to societal development while ensuring the highest levels of safety.

Enhanced digitalization will facilitate for international maritime traffic and seaborne trade. It will reduce administrative burdens for both ship masters and maritime administrations, and advance trade possibilities in developing countries. Sweden is committed to this work and has taken on a particularly active role in the IMO Facilitation Committee. Sweden is honored to have representatives chairing both the Committee and the Expert Group on Data Harmonization.

Moreover, Sweden has taken a particular responsibility in the IMO to advance the development and use of future technologies, including the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). MASS working group is chaired by a Swedish representative, and Sweden is dedicated to advancing its work.

Gender equality

A vital element in preparing shipping for the future is the enhancement of gender equality within the IMO and the maritime sector. Sweden is convinced that the maritime sector will benefit greatly by engaging men and women equally. Not only will the work force available to the sector increase if more women are engaged in shipping, but Sweden is also convinced that the pool of recruitment will include more skilled individuals, who will benefit the maritime sector. Sweden is committed to continuous advocacy of enhanced gender equality within the IMO.

Climate change

Climate change and environmental degradation pose threats to the future of the oceans, the maritime sector and the global community. Sweden strongly supports the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2017, Sweden and Fiji jointly took the initiative to organize "The Ocean Conference", Our Oceans, Our Future: Partnering for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. The Conference devoted special attention to the health of our oceans and aimed at advancing the implementation of SDG 14. Sweden is committed to continuing to show leadership in order to ensure fulfilment of this important goal to which IMO's work is integral.

Sweden and the IMO

Sweden has been a dedicated member of the IMO since 1959 and will continue to actively engage and support the work of the IMO on all levels of the Organization. Sweden believes that the progress and success of the IMO is dependent on the engagement of member states. Sweden will work to ensure that all States are heard and that all specific interests are attended to within IMO.

Active participation and discussion by qualified experts are key factors to achieve the goals set up by the Organization. Therefore, Sweden allocates extensive resources to allow its experts to contribute to the work in the Organization. Over the years, Swedish representatives have served as elected officers of Diplomatic Conferences, the Council, MSC, MEPC, FAL and several subsidiary bodies. To contribute to the progress of the Organization's work, Sweden also provides competent people to serve as chairs and coordinators of numerous working and correspondence groups.

Moreover, Sweden has ratified and implemented, in principle, all Conventions and other relevant instruments of the IMO.

Sweden was also one of the first Member States to be audited under the IMO Member State Voluntary Audit Scheme and has, in the interest of transparency, published the audit report, as well as actively contributed to the institutionalization of the scheme. Sweden looks forward to being audited again in 2021.