Secretary-General Kofi Annan visits IMO

Efthimios Mitropoulos (left) meets Kofi  AnnanUnited Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today visited IMO's London Headquarters to meet IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos and to speak to staff at the UN specialized agency.

Mr Annan and Mr Mitropoulos discussed matters of immediate concern, including the UN system's response to the tsunami crisis in South Asia, as well as broader issues such as the global challenges that face the world today and the changing role of the UN in the longer term as it prepares to tackle them.

Mr Mitropoulos was able to brief Mr Annan on the specific response from IMO thus far in addressing the maritime aspects of the tsunami disaster, and the two men discussed the part IMO might play in the collaborative efforts across the UN system to help establish a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean.

Addressing IMO staff, Mr Annan expressed his tremendous gratitude for the work of IMO, hailing the Organization as one of the UN system's "quiet successes", and acknowledged the new urgency that the Organization's work, particularly in the field of maritime security, had assumed since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Mr Annan spoke of the interconnected nature of today's world and of the global threats that now face us all - terrorism, entrenched poverty, environmental degradation and disease. He encouraged IMO staff to continue play their part in deriving a positive response to these challenges.

Mr Mitropoulos assured Mr Annan that while discharging its own responsibilities, IMO was also pleased to work in close co-operation with others within the UN system on a wide variety of issues. Mr Annan's visit, he said, served as a reminder of the broader objectives that are common to all and he stressed IMO's eagerness to add its contribution to the achievement of the goals specified in the Millenium Declaration.

11 February 2005


IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. It is the only agency of the United Nations to be headquartered in London. This was Mr Annan's first visit to IMO in his capacity of Secretary General.

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