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Rio+20 IMO side event - Presentation of the vision of Sustainable Maritime Development

June 20, 2012

Rio+20 IMO side event
20 June 2012
Welcome and introduction –
Presentation of the vision of Sustainable Maritime Development
by Mr. Koji Sekimizu
Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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. What was once an aspiration is now an expectation.  Indeed, sustainability has, itself, become a strong driver for growth. Whole new industries have developed as a result of it, and the quests for energy efficiency and new sources of power have inspired something of a renaissance in technological development and innovation.
 
Rio+20, with its two main themes of the green economy and the institutional framework for sustainable development, is a crucial waypoint on the route to a sustainable and responsible future.
 
Shipping contributes significantly to the three pillars of sustainable development – social, environmental and economic. It facilitates global commerce and the creation of wealth and prosperity among nations and peoples, creating a wide variety of jobs aboard ships and ashore, with beneficial impacts, both direct and indirect, on the livelihoods of others.
But to achieve sustainable development in shipping, it is important to establish a coordinated and integrated approach to maritime policies. With more than half the world’s population living near the coast, the importance of integrated coastal zone management, including port development and the protection of coastal and marine resources, is also of particular importance to sustainable development.
 
Twenty years ago, the ‘Agenda 21’ included a set of recommendations related to shipping and the role of IMO.  IMO’s responses have been both multifaceted and robust. Shipping and IMO have made significant progress in Environmental Protection since the Earth Summit, and here at Rio+20, IMO, together with the shipping industry, will renew that commitment to sustainable maritime development.  
 
I strongly 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.
Let us examine the facts. First on economy. International shipping transports about 90 per cent of global trade, by sea, to peoples and communities all over the world. Shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transportation for most goods; it provides a dependable, low-cost means of transporting goods globally, facilitating commerce and helping to create prosperity among nations and peoples.
 
Global food security is dependent on a safe and secure delivery method – and that means international shipping.
Shipping also delivers energy for all. Shipping is a life-line for everybody. Shipping is a life-line for trade and manufacturing industry. Shipping is not discretionary. It is indispensable and essential for growth and Sustainable Development.
 
On social side, as the delivery mechanism for global trade, shipping supports and sustains a huge number and range of wealth-creating and poverty-alleviating activities in both developed and developing countries.
 
Shipping provides job opportunities to people in developing countries. More than 1.5 million people are employed as seafarers and the vast majority is form developing countries.  If world economy continues to grow, we need more highly trained and qualified seafarers. To meet the demand of growth, we need to provide more than 50,000 seafarers every year. Related activities such as shipbuilding, ship repair and ship recycling provide more jobs to people in developing countries and have contributed towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
 
For the environment, shipping is continuously improving its environmental performance with IMO measures.  Accident rate and input of oil and harmful substances to marine environment is continuously declining.  We have now established 14 Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas with stringent protective measures.  Global regime for greener and safer ship recycling and mechanism to stop invasive species through ballast water were firmly established and we are looking for global implementation as soon as possible.  Global standards to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption were developed and shipping industry is promoting their application from next year.
 
Shipping is an essential component of any programme for sustainable development. The world relies on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry, and this is provided by the comprehensive regulatory framework developed and maintained by IMO.
 
The regulatory regime developed by IMO, provides a blueprint for countries to develop their maritime transport infrastructure in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner.
 
Through its technical co-operation activities, IMO helps build capacity to enable developing countries to participate fully in maritime activities. This generates wealth, jobs and economic activity not only in the maritime sector but in other areas that rely on maritime trade for access to global markets.
 
In this side event at Rio+20, we will not only highlight the huge contribution already being made by shipping and by IMO towards greater sustainability, we will also showcase the many positive and pro-active steps that are currently being taken to ensure that shipping continues to serve the needs of an expanding global population while becoming greener, more environmentally friendly, more efficient and more effective.
 
Through IMO, the Organization’s Member States, civil society and the shipping industry are already working together to ensure a continued and strengthened contribution towards a green economy and growth in a sustainable manner. And I hope that, in this side event, we can begin to identify more precisely the elements that must be addressed if the objective of sustainable maritime development is to be achieved in the long term. 
 
The development and implementation, through IMO, of global standards covering maritime safety, environmental protection, maritime security and the facilitation of maritime traffic, will underpin green and sustainable shipping and confirm IMO’s ability to provide the appropriate institutional framework for sustainable maritime development.
 
At this side event, we will also take the opportunity to highlight a number of factors that will further contribute towards a sustainable future for shipping, for example:
 
• technical and operational measures to increase energy efficiency, based on the need to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships in order to combat global warming and climate change;
• the promotion of new technology for safety, environmental protection, security, clean energy and the efficient operation of ships;
• continued support for education and training to secure the continuous supply of quality seafarers and maritime experts; 
• improved maritime security, which embraces the application of international measures for maritime security, anti-piracy measures and law-enforcement mechanisms for maritime zone and supply-chain security;
• the enhancement of maritime traffic management in straits and sea areas of significant importance for maritime navigation, and the realization of the Marine Electronic Highway concept; and
• the improvement of maritime infrastructure, including aids to navigation, search and rescue, and port facilities and through technical co-operation, to ensure availability of proper maritime infrastructure in all parts of the world.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, I see the promotion of sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development as one of the major priorities of my tenure as IMO Secretary-General.
 
Just as the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio led to valuable and effective work by IMO under Agenda 21, so we should now support the Rio+20 process.  Rio+20 is an opportunity to launch a vision for sustainable maritime development that will underpin future maritime developments within a green economy, in which IMO will play a major and significant role. 
Let no-one be in any doubt that the outcome of this meeting will have deep and long-lasting repercussions for our world today and, even more importantly, will do much to shape the legacy we leave to future generations.
 
I am therefore pleased to let you know that last week the Council of IMO, agreed to my suggestion that the theme for the World Maritime Day 2013, and the focus of IMO’s work in 2013, therefore, should be: “Sustainable Development:  IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20.”  Through this theme IMO’s leadership for environmentally sound shipping will be extended to the wider context of more sustainable development and a ‘greener’ world economy.
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