IMO headquaters. PHOTO/IMO
By PATRICK MAYOYO
Shipping and ports can play a significant role in helping to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability through promoting maritime trade, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, has said.
Mr Lim speaking during the occasion to mark the World Maritime Day said the United Nations agency will play a key role in helping achieve the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The port and maritime sectors can be wealth creators, both on land and at sea,” he said.
Mr Lim said maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people that operate them, can and should play a significant role helping Member States to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability ashore through promoting trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land; and through developing a sustainable blue economy at sea.
“This is the key message being shared around the world today (28 September), as IMO and the global maritime community celebrates the annual World Maritime Day, under the theme: Connecting Ships, Ports and People,” he said.
World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day. Every year, it provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work.
“Our theme for this year will enable us to shine a spotlight on the existing cooperation between ports and ships to maintain and enhance a safe, secure and efficient maritime transportation system.” Mr. Lim said.
Mr Lim said individual governments are encouraged to mark the World Maritime Day, on a date of their choosing but usually in the last week of September.
He said against a background of increasingly complex global challenges, the United Nations has established 17 Sustainable Development Goals which, together, have the potential to transform the world into a better place for all.
He said the World Maritime Day provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities, and to highlight the significant contribution of IMO and its Member States to global efforts to improve the safety, security and efficiency of shipping and to protect the marine environment.
“The World Maritime Day themes for 2016 and 2017 are complementary and may be seen as a response to United Nations post-2015 sustainable development agenda and, in particular, the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Mr Lim said for 2016, the theme was “Shipping: indispensable to the world” –chosen to focus on the critical link between shipping and the everyday lives of people all over the planet, and to raise awareness of the role of IMO as the global regulatory body for international shipping.
“One of the key messages was that the importance of shipping in supporting and sustaining today’s global society gives IMO’s work a significance that reaches far beyond the industry itself,” he noted.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), around 80 percent of global trade by volume and over 70 percent of global trade by value are carried by sea and are handled by ports worldwide.
Mr Lim said throughout the year, IMO will highlight the importance of ‘joined-up’ maritime development across all sectors, both from a policy and a practical perspective.
“The benefits of a free and efficient flow of goods and trade extend far beyond the ships and ports themselves –and we will show how an effective interface between them can improve the lives of people everywhere, especially in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals,” observed.
He said IMO’s role as the global regulator of the shipping industry can enhance this integration–as consistent, uniform regulation facilitates the free flow of commerce.