Shipping can contribute to Millennium Development Goals, Secretary-General tells Members as 24th IMO Assembly opens
Assembly - 24th
session: 21 November - 2 December 2005
Shipping has an
important to play in the broader issues affecting global society, IMO Secretary-General
Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos told delegates at the opening of the 24th session
of the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization at its London Headquarters
on Monday 21 November.
to three concerns in particular: wealth imbalance, security and the state of
the planet from an environmental perspective, Mr. Mitropoulos said: "I
strongly believe that their inherent problems are ones to which we, as the regulators
of and, indeed, as members of the international maritime community, can play
an active role in finding the solutions - or, at the very least, in making a
valuable and beneficial contribution."
Mr. Mitropoulos pledged IMO's contribution to meeting the Millennium Development
Goals, which have been agreed by the nations of the world through the United
Nations. "Here, in IMO, we are determined to play our part and, with the
Council deciding last week that the World Maritime Day theme for next year should
be 'Technical Co-operation: IMO's response to the 2005 World Summit', with special
emphasis on the maritime needs of Africa, we will do all we can to make a difference,"
Mr. Mitropoulos said.
technical, detailed work of IMO is hugely important, Mr. Mitropoulos said that
the Assembly provided an appropriate occasion to view IMO's work, and the contribution
of shipping as a whole, in the context of the broader issues affecting the world.
alleviation of poverty is not only a goal in itself but also a catalyst from
which so much else, in terms of health, education and equality of opportunity,
can flow. Maritime activity has a key role to play in achieving this objective.
It already provides an important source of invisible income to many developing
countries. Indeed, developing countries now lead the world in some of shipping's
most important ancillary businesses, including the registration of ships, the
supply of sea-going manpower and ship recycling. They also play a significant
part in shipowning and operating; shipbuilding, - repairing and - recycling;
and port services, among others," Mr. Mitropoulos said.
Seen in a
wider context, shipping has an even more important role to play in underpinning
the global economy on which all prosperity is based, Mr. Mitropoulos added.
"Sea transport remains by far the most cost-effective way to move goods
and raw materials in quantity around the world and, as I have stressed at every
opportunity this year, the vast majority of global trade is carried, safely
and securely, in ships. Moreover, shipping's safety record continues to improve.
The total number of ship losses in 2004, for example, was the lowest since 1989."
highlighted the importance of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, set
to be adopted during the Assembly, which will provide an excellent opportunity
to improve standards for the greater good of all, providing a key tool in the
battle against sub-standard shipping,
Audit Scheme will allow Members of the Organization to place their own implementation
record under the scrutiny of qualified, independent auditors, with a view to
identifying where any gaps or weaknesses might be occurring so that, whatever
remedial action might be appropriate, can be decided upon. My vision of the
Scheme is of one which, rather than causing embarrassment by exposing weaknesses,
will instead bring us closer together - helping each other in pursuit of our
common goals." Mr. Mitropoulos said, commending the Assembly to adopt the
resolutions on the Framework and Procedures for the Audit Scheme and on the
Code for the implementation of mandatory IMO instruments, which is to serve
as the audit standard.
issues on the Assembly agenda, highlighted by Mr. Mitropoulos, include a proposed
resolution requesting the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)
to develop, as a priority, a new instrument on ship recycling, with a view to
providing legally-binding and globally-applicable ship recycling regulations
for the international shipping industry and for recycling facilities.
resolution addresses the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships in
waters off the coast of Somalia. "The relatively new scourge of international
terrorism threatens us all, and we need to find new, collaborative ways in which
to address it - as much as we need to address the threat of piracy in regions
characterized by political instability. I hope the Assembly will share my concern
at the increasing number and audacity of pirate attacks on shipping off the
coast of Somalia and will endorse my proposals for action, as the Council did,
in principle, last week," Mr. Mitropoulos said. Among his proposals is
a request for the Assembly to authorize him to transmit a copy of the present
resolution to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for consideration
and any further action he may deem appropriate, including bringing the matter
to the attention of the Security Council for consideration and action as appropriate.
Ladyman, Minister of State for Transport, United Kingdom, welcomed delegates
to the Assembly on behalf of the host Government. Ministers from 15 other countries
also addressed the Assembly.
President of the Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Mel Cappe, High Commissioner for
Canada and the incoming President, His Excellency Mr. Zha Peixin, Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China, addressed
session of the IMO Assembly runs until 2 December 2005.
The Assembly elected His Excellency Mr. Zha Peixin, Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the United Kingdom
as President of the Assembly.
His Excellency Dr. Federico Mirré, Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of Argentina to the United Kingdom; and
Her Excellency Mrs. Christiane Jeanne-Marie Tabele Omichessan, Minister of Transport
and Public Works of Benin.
The Assembly normally meets once every two years. All 166 Member States and
three Associate Members are entitled to attend as are the inter-governmental
organizations with which agreements on co-operation have been concluded and
non-governmental organizations which have consultative status with IMO.
47, 22 November 2005
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