World Shipping (China) Summit 2012
“Sharing an orderly market”
Sustainable Development of the Shipping Industry
By Koji Sekimizu
Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization
20 September 2012
Vice-Minister of Transport, Mr. Xu,
Officials of Xiamen Municipal and Fujian Provincial Governments,
Captain Wei Jiafu,
Friends in the shipping community,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to attend the World Shipping Summit 2012.
My sincere appreciations are for Captain Wei, for his kind invitation to attend this summit meeting and for Vice-Minister Xu for his arrangements and support for my visit to China including the kind arrangements for my meetings with him and new Transport Minister Yang this morning.
As introduced by Captain Wei, I am the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization. IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and we are a regulatory body of shipping. Our main field of activities is to make international regulations and provide the legislative framework for shipping and we are holding international meetings at the IMO Headquarters in London throughout the year. This week, the Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods and Solid Cargoes is meeting and Mr. Xie of the Chinese Government was elected to the post of Chairman. As far as I recall, he is the first Chinese official elected to the post of Chairman of a regular IMO committee/sub-committee.
At the beginning of October, the Marine Environment Protection Committee will be held to discuss GHG issues and ballast water management and, after MEPC, we will move to South Africa to hold a Diplomatic Conference to adopt a new Agreement to implement international regulations for the safety of fishing vessels. In November, the IMO Council will discuss the status of the Review and Reform process I initiated and the Maritime Safety Committee will debate the matter of piracy and an expected report on the Costa Concordia accident. So we are amidst a very busy time.
But, the reason why I accepted the invitation by Captain Wei to attend this Summit meeting is that I always want to be updated with real developments in shipping and I want to listen to the views of leaders of shipping. I want to be with you and I want to understand and share with you the present difficult situation surrounding shipping. It is very important for me to understand the realities.
That is the reason why I attended the International Shipping Conference organised by ICS last week and held a regular informal exchange of views on current issues with ICS, BIMCO, Intercargo and Intertanko this week. I want to engage in dialogue with leaders of shipping in all regions of the world and this is the reason why I attend this Summit meeting this week.
During the course of this Summit you may continue to seek, to identify emerging markets in which economic growth might be expected, and to explore innovative ways in which the industry might structure itself to get through the most difficult times in the best shape possible. Even in these stormy times, it is vital to keep a weather eye out for what lies ahead and to plot a course that might lead to calmer waters.
And it is very much with an eye on the future that I would like to speak to you today.
Ladies and gentlemen, in June, I went to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, to re-affirm IMO’s commitment to sustainable development and, in particular, to sustainable maritime development. I used the event as a platform to draw attention to how shipping contributes significantly to the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental.
As the United Nations international regulatory body for the industry, IMO has been, and continues to be, the focal point for, and the driving force behind, efforts to ensure that shipping becomes greener and cleaner.
Twenty years ago, the so-called ‘Agenda 21’, adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, included a set of recommendations related to shipping and the role of IMO. IMO’s responses were both multifaceted and robust. At Rio+20, we renewed our commitment to sustainable maritime development and to helping make the transition to a green economy.
Shipping is an essential component of any programme for sustainable development. The world relies on a safe, secure, efficient and clean international shipping industry and the comprehensive regulatory framework developed and maintained by IMO creates the conditions in which shipping can work.
As a result of Rio +20, the United Nations is taking an initiative to set Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, it is my view that IMO should develop sustainable development goals for shipping and maritime industries as IMO's contribution to the effort of the United Nations. The sustainable development goals should focus on the following pillars:
1. Safety culture and environmental stewardship;
2. energy efficiency;
3. new technology and innovations;
4. maritime education and training;
5. maritime security and anti-piracy actions;
6. maritime traffic management;
7. maritime infrastructure development; and
8. adoption and implementation of global standards established by IMO.
IMO will continue to provide the institutional framework for the sustainable development of maritime activities. In this regard, the IMO Council recently adopted the theme for World Maritime Day 2013: “Sustainable Development: IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20”. This confirms our firm intention to concentrate on the commitments made at Rio+20, in 2013 and beyond. Through this theme, IMO’s leadership in environmentally-sound shipping will be extended to the wider context of more sustainable development and a ‘greener’ world economy.
Ladies and gentlemen, the meaning of “sustainability”, and the necessity of achieving it, is, I think, gradually becoming widely acknowledged and understood by the public worldwide. Indeed, sustainability has become a strong driver for growth.
Rio+20 was a crucial waypoint on the route to a sustainable and responsible future and sustainable growth. But to achieve sustainable development in shipping, it is important to establish a coordinated and integrated approach to maritime policies.
I believe that establishing a sustainable maritime transportation sector is essential to the development and growth of the world's economy. Indeed, without shipping, we cannot really think about the future of the global economy.
And it is IMO that can provide – indeed should provide – the framework within which stakeholders in shipping can develop their collective contribution to sustainable development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are in challenging times. But if we clearly define our challenges, we may be able to overcome the difficulty. Challenging times will provide opportunities. I sincerely hope that we, governments and industry, work together and change this time of difficulty to a time of opportunity to move towards a sustainable future.