MEPC 75 cancelled as IMO shuts up shop in response to COVID-19
IMO has temporarily closed its London headquarters and has added to the list of meetings cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. MEPC 75 is the biggest casualty as far as meetings go.
The IMO Secretariat announced that it has been closely monitoring developments of the impact of COVID-19 at local and global levels and has followed advice provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Government of the United Kingdom (as the host government) and actions taken by other UN agencies.
Taking into account the rapid increase of cases worldwide and the continuing difficulties for some delegates from IMO Member States travelling from abroad to attend IMO meetings, and the determination by the World Health Organization, on 11 March, that the outbreak is now pandemic, the following meetings are now postponed:
- the 7th meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, scheduled to take place from 23 to 27 March 2020;
- the 33rd meeting of the E&T Group (IMSBC), scheduled to take place from 23 to 27 March 2020;
- the 75th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), scheduled to take place from 30 March to 3 April 2020.
These postponements are in addition to those already announced on 6 March, specifically the postponement of:
- the meeting of the Scientific Group of the London Convention and London Protocol scheduled to take place from 9 to 13 March 2020; and
- the 107th session of the Legal Committee, scheduled to take place from 16 to 20 March 2020.
The IMO Secretary-General will be consulting with Member States, and in particular Members of the Council, on these actions and any others (i.e. additional postponements) required in the interest of public health and safety.
The IMO Secretariat will continue to monitor all developments related to COVID-19 and will advise as soon as possible on future developments. Rescheduling of the meetings listed above will be announced in good time for delegates to make appropriate arrangements. Further updates about other meetings scheduled to take place in April will be provided as soon as possible.
IMO Member States have been advised by circular letter and email, to diplomatic contact points.