The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has provided the legal underpinning for protection of the marine environment for decades. Its partnership with Regional Seas has a long history, dating as far back as the mid-1970s with its contribution to the Mediterranean Action Plan.
IMO encourages and facilitates the general adoption of the highest practicable standards in matters concerning maritime safety, efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of marine pollution from ships. IMO continues to support and is actively involved within the Regional Seas programmes, for example the Helsinki Convention and Nairobi Convention.
IMO has cooperated with UNEP in facilitating the application of the Nairobi Convention and its Emergency Protocol and has assisted Governments of the Eastern African region in the development of national contingency plans as well as in the training of personnel.
IMO is the secretariat for the International Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation Convention (OPRC 90), and has assisted the NOWPAP Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre (MERRAC) and NOWPAP member States in the development of a NOWPAP Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan and an associated regional MoU as well as other activities which belong to the scope of MERRAC.
In addition the GEF/UNDP/IMO Global Ballast Water Management Programme (GloBallast) is assisting developing countries to;
- reduce the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships' ballast water,
- implement the IMO ballast water Guidelines and
- prepare for the new IMO ballast water Convention.