IMLI Graduation 2019
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim speech
15 June 2019
Your Excellency, Mr. President,
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies, gentlemen, students,
I am delighted to be here with you today, to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2019, which is another milestone for the Institute. The graduands, to whom we extend our heartfelt congratulations for their achievements, today join 29 generations of maritime professionals who, through their competent work, enabled by the teachings of this Institute, have made IMLI, and IMO, very proud. This class has been equipped with the necessary skills to ensure that the goals that the international maritime community and IMO have set, are fully realized for the prosperity of the maritime sector.
IMO has been at the forefront of developing the necessary regulatory framework which aims to improve the lives of people everywhere in the world. The Organization has grown over the years without losing focus of its important role; to facilitate a safe and sustainable transport sector which supports the world trade and fuels the global economy, at the same time as ensuring the protection of the environment and the safety of all those involved in maritime activities.
IMLI is instrumental to the work of IMO. IMLI was founded having recognized that the uniform application of international rules required skilled and duly qualified human resources at national level.
IMO takes great satisfaction in witnessing how IMLI has become the cornerstone of the Organization's technical cooperation programme. I would like to invite you to look at today's graduands and take note of the global reach of this Institute.
For this academic year, 51 students from 36 States have come together, to enhance their knowledge in international maritime law for the benefit of their countries and the international community.
In the year that IMO celebrates women in the maritime community, I am particularly pleased with the record enrolment of women at IMLI's educational programmes, whose presence today signifies that the maritime industry cannot, and should not, be considered a 'male domain' any longer. IMLI was the first institution within the UN system to reserve 50 per cent of places of its programmes for female candidates. This policy, as we see today, is paying off.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
While celebrating past achievements, we must keep our sights on the future. We should not forget that our oceans and their resources are being over-exploited at an ever-increasing rate and therefore strong and uniform policies, as well as laws, need to be implemented and enforced worldwide. To achieve these goals, nations – whether developed or developing – need experts who understand that while shipping must keep pace with new developments and technological advancements, it must safeguard our marine environment and ensure peaceful and inclusive societies.
I cannot stress enough how vital IMLI has become in the efforts of IMO Member States, especially developing countries, to generate national expertise for the effective adoption of laws to implement IMO instruments.
IMLI graduates are conscious of the overarching aims of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ways countries can achieve them. Taking an active role in ocean governance, the Institute - with generous funding from The Nippon Foundation - undertook major research on the limitations of the current fragmented ocean governance regime, to provide tangible solutions, for a more effective and sustainable oceans governance in the future.
Furthermore, the joint programme IMLI offers with the World Maritime University, is providing training designed to ensure the future sustainability of the world's oceans.
This readiness to meet emerging issues is why we all need to support IMLI and its activities. IMO Member States continuously reiterate their appreciation for the Institute, and thank its donors and the host country for enabling the training of government officials from all over the world, especially developing countries, which would not otherwise have had the opportunity to access quality education.
I extend my heartfelt appreciation to all organizations and institutions providing assistance to the Institute in order to achieve its global mission. My thanks go to The Nippon Foundation, Lloyd's Register Foundation, ITF Seafarers' Trust, and IMO Technical Cooperation Division for the fellowships provided. Thanks to the sponsorship of the Governments of Angola, Brazil, Ghana, Malta, Malaysia and Nigeria, five key officers in their countries' maritime authorities completed their studies at IMLI this year.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Government of Malta which has hosted IMLI and supported it throughout its existence. The friendliness and hospitality of the Maltese people provides a home away from home to students and visitors alike.
To Professor David Attard and the dedicated IMLI academic and administrative staff, I wish to thank you for your hard work and relentless efforts to make the Institute rise to the highest standards.
As you leave the Institute, please always remember that you have pledged yourselves to serve the rule of international maritime law. Remember that, wherever you are, you have friends and colleagues who speak the same language as you and who have a common goal: safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans. The Institute has equipped you with the knowledge and skills you need to use for the benefit of all of us. Apply your newly acquired skills, when advising or representing your country and when negotiating with international partners. Above all, do not forget that it will be our concerted efforts that will ensure that our beautiful oceans are protected for future generations.
I wish to congratulate you on your achievements and look forward to meeting you at IMO.