Exponaval 2012 - Maritime association a booster for development - Creation of a National Maritime Cluster
Wednesday 5 December
Activity of IMO for Sustainable Maritime Transportation
By Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization
Minister, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
If you take water from a reservoir at a rate greater than that which rainfall or inflowing streams replenish it, very soon you will run out of water. That is a very simple concept to understand. And the closer your reservoir is to being empty, the more urgent it becomes to find ways of either using less water or getting more water into it. That, too, is a fairly straightforward proposition.
Since history began, mankind has stood at the edge of what appeared to be inexhaustible oceans.
We treated the earth and its resources as if they would never run out, and we poured our waste products away into the air, rivers and seas as though nature would simply absorb and take care of them without damage to the environment.
Today, all that has changed. Today, we understand that the planet’s resources are limited and that the environment can be damaged forever unless we give it our care and attention.
Yet mankind must continue to develop. But what we now realize is that our development in the future must take full account of finite and diminishing resources and a fragile environment. In short, our future development must be sustainable.
It was the Brundtland Report, released by the United Nations in 1987, that coined what has become the most widely accepted definition of sustainable development, namely "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Our understanding of sustainable development today embraces a concern both for the capacity of the earth’s natural systems and for the social, economic and cultural challenges faced by humanity.
And, today, the United Nations is still the global leader pushing forward efforts to turn the concept of sustainable development into something tangible. A significant marker on the road to sustainable development was laid down earlier this year at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, in June, 20 years after the first of such conferences in the same city.
At what became known as Rio+20, the United Nations undertook an initiative to develop and set a series of Sustainable Development Goals.
I was at Rio+20, and I took the opportunity 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 three of the pillars of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental.
As the United Nations’ international regulatory body for shipping, IMO has been, and continues to be, the focal point for, and the driving force behind, efforts to ensure that the industry becomes greener and cleaner.
In this context, it is my view that IMO should develop Sustainable Development Goals for shipping and maritime industries. Such an initiative would exist both in parallel with, and as a contribution to, the wider efforts of the United Nations to which I referred just a moment ago.
As a first step, I have established an internal mechanism, within my office, to work with our industry partners and interested stakeholders on the development and implementation of clearly defined Sustainable Development Goals for the maritime transport sector. The intention is to develop a specific and meaningful policy document covering all technical aspects of shipping and all activities of IMO in the context of sustainable development.
With shipping being so essential to the continued development and future growth of the world economy, IMO must continue to take the lead in supporting the shipping industry with the appropriate global standards and by helping to promote, through technical co-operation, the necessary national maritime transportation policy and institutional frameworks for a sustainable maritime transportation sector. To this end, I have defined eight key elements or ‘pillars’ on which IMO’s Sustainable Maritime Development Goals should focus. They are:
1. safety culture and environmental stewardship;
2. energy efficiency;
3. new technology and innovation;
4. maritime education and training;
5. maritime security and counter-piracy measures;
6. maritime traffic management;
7. maritime infrastructure development; and, last but not least,
8. implementation of global standards developed, adopted and maintained by IMO.
This initiative will, of course, underpin the theme chosen by the Council for the 2013 World Maritime Day, which is “Sustainable Development: IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20”. It is a theme that 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.
I felt genuinely encouraged by the main outcome of the Rio+20 Conference, which was a document entitled “The Future We Want”. It contained a number of specific areas of relevance to IMO and its work for the protection of oceans and seas and for energy efficiency measures for international shipping.
I should like IMO’s commitment to establishing Sustainable Maritime Development Goals to be seen as a pro-active response to the call by the then President of the United Nations Assembly, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, that the outcome document of Rio+20 “is not an end but a new beginning” and that implementation is now all important.
Our efforts in this context will also be very specifically in line with the Oceans Compact. This is a separate initiative launched by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Expo 2012 World Fair held in Yeosu, in the Republic of Korea, earlier this year. The idea of the Oceans Compact is to promote, in particular, the sustainable development of the world’s oceans. It sets out a strategic vision for the UN system to deliver, as one, more coherently and more effectively, its ocean-related mandates. The Oceans Compact is consistent with the Rio+20 outcome document and linked to the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals. I am personally committed to ensuring that IMO will actively contribute, alongside other UN bodies, to the elaboration and implementation of this crucial, UN-led initiative for the protection and preservation of the planet’s living oceans and coasts through sustainable activities.
Ladies and gentlemen, transport systems exist to provide social and economic connections. But the advantages of any transport system must be weighed against the environmental, social and economic costs inherent in it. Thus, in today’s global transport sector, of which shipping is a major component, the quest is now to develop sustainable transport systems – systems that make a positive contribution to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the communities they serve.
Looking forward, we need to develop transport systems that satisfy the essential needs of individuals, corporations and society. The movement and carriage of goods and cargoes must be carried out safely and in a manner that does not degrade the environment. We need to keep emissions and waste to levels that are within the ability of the planet to absorb them.
Shipping is a competitive industry, driven in the short-term by commercial imperatives. But, a combination of operating efficiencies and highly visible corporate social responsibility can actually yield real commercial benefits in an increasingly discerning market.
Already, we are seeing numerous examples in which the regulatory framework established by IMO is prompting new levels of innovation and creativity within the shipping and marine equipment industries.
Just the other week, for example, a single copy of one of shipping’s many excellent technical journals carried three fascinating, and highly encouraging, stories about new technologies emerging to help shipowners meet the forthcoming IMO regulations on emissions. First, there was news of an order being placed for two new main propulsion engines for tankers that use an exhaust gas recirculation system to lower the formation of NOx, and thereby meet IMO’s Tier III emission standards well in advance of their coming into effect; then came a report of a new software product developed by a classification society that enables shipowners to track data and statistical trends to help them create and administer their Shipboard Energy Efficiency Management Plans; and, finally, came a report of a zero-emission propulsion concept for shipping based on a vessel that runs on a combination of solar power, fuel cells, batteries and wind power.
I quote these examples not because I think they necessarily hold the key to sustainable shipping in the future, but simply to illustrate the power of regulation to create a groundswell of imagination and innovation from which we all will benefit eventually.
The meaning of “sustainability”, and the necessity of achieving it, is, I think, gradually becoming widely acknowledged and understood by the public worldwide. Indeed, as these examples confirm, sustainability itself has become a strong driver for growth.
Ladies and gentlemen, 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 achieve those objectives.
Twenty years ago, the so-called ‘Agenda 21’, adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in 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.
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. 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.
And it is IMO that can provide – indeed should provide – the framework within which stakeholders in shipping can develop the policies that will enable them to make their collective contribution to sustainable development.
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 can all work together and change this time of difficulty to a time of opportunity, and move towards a sustainable future.