Skip to main content

Countdown to Human Rights Day

The Little Prince helps celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Learn more

Call for submission, SR toxics and human rights “Impact analysis of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)”


It is estimated that Shipping transports about 90% of global trade. Its environmental impact includes air pollution, water pollution, as well as acoustic and oil pollution.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is "the specialized UN agency with responsibility for maritime safety and security of shipping and prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented."

The IMO also has responsibilities to implement key international marine anti-pollution conventions. Among others: the International Convention for Prevention of Marine Pollution for Ships (MARPOL); the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (Hong Kong Recycling Convention); the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (Anti-Fouling Convention); the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) and ballast water management system (BWMS); the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage and the Convention establishing the International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (Civil Liability and Fund Conventions for Oil Pollution); and the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (Dumping Convention).

Background Information

From 7 to 18 December 2020, The United Nations Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, Marcos Orellana, will hold a series of meetings with the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to assess the situation of human rights within the context of hazardous substances and wastes.

The meetings will allow the Special Rapporteur to analyze and assess the work of the IMO on questions relating to the toxics mandate. They will help to identify good practices, as well as areas that need improvement, in relation to which the mandate holder would seek to make constructive and concrete recommendations. The outcome of the mandate's analyses will be included in relevant mandate's reports.

The Special Rapporteur would like to invite all states, civil society organizations, academics, UN agencies, business enterprises, consumers’ organizations, and all other interested parties to submit information, which they consider relevant in preparation of these meetings. While all submissions are welcome, and the questions below are by no means exhaustive, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful for all information that addresses topics such as:

  • Occupational health
  • Prevention and response to marine pollution, including oil pollution
  • Chemical pollution, including hazardous substances, garbage, and sewage
  • Shipbreaking
  • Emissions of greenhouse gases and climate change
  • Dumping of hazardous and other wastes
  • Control of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships
  • Gaps in, and effectiveness of, international maritime anti-pollution conventions
  • Safety of navigation
  • Impacts on local communities


  • Please send the information by 31 March 2021 to [email protected]. The information may be sent in English, French or Spanish and must not exceed the 2500 words
  • For relevant reports, please provide a link to the document if available online, or attach if not available online
  • Please indicate "SR Toxics/IMO" in the email header


All inputs will be treated confidentially by the Special Rapporteur for the sole purpose of preparing for or analyzing the IMO visit.

If you would like your written submission or any other information NOT to be published on the website of the Special Rapporteur, please explicitly indicate this in your submission.

Useful contacts and links for organizations and representatives who wish to be in contact with the Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights follow.

The Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights thanks you for your submission.

Inputs Received