World Maritime Day celebration (Mexico)
21 August 2017
Speech by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General
International Maritime Organization
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be with you today and to join in your celebration of World Maritime Day here in Mexico.
Each year, World Maritime Day provides an opportunity to reflect on a particular aspect of IMO's work. Our World Maritime Day theme for 2017 was chosen in the context of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs – established in 2015 as the global response to the increasingly complex challenges the world faces today. Together, the SDGs have the potential to transform our world into a better place for us all.
As a United Nations agency, IMO has a strong commitment to helping achieve the SDGs. Shipping and ports can play a significant role in helping to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability through promoting maritime trade. The port and maritime sectors can be wealth creators, both on land and at sea.
Billions of people all over the world rely on maritime transport in their everyday lives – even though they may not realize it. As the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient way to carry goods, shipping forms the backbone of world trade. It provides a dependable, low-cost means of transport, facilitating commerce and helping create prosperity among nations and peoples. By providing improved access to basic materials, goods and products, shipping is expected to help lift millions of people out of poverty.
It was to highlight this potential, that our theme for this year – "Connecting Ships, Ports and People" – was chosen.
Shipping is an essential component of any programme for future sustainable economic growth. And the role of IMO is to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping.
We do this in two ways. First, we develop and adopt a global regulatory regime for shipping that embraces the highest practicable standards of maritime safety and security, efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of pollution from ships.
And, second, we back this up with an extensive programme of technical assistance and capacity building, to ensure that, once adopted, the standards can be implemented evenly and effectively.
It is this framework of standards and regulations, adopted by governments through IMO, that ensures shipping continues to operate safely, securely, cleanly and efficiently.
The key to that lies in implementation. And here is where you, the governments and their maritime administrations play the central role. For any IMO measure to be successful, it needs early entry into force, widespread ratification, effective implementation, stringent oversight of compliance and vigorous enforcement. Even the conventions that have almost universal coverage of the global fleet only have teeth if they are backed up by an effective implementation infrastructure at the national level.
So, as we celebrate World Maritime Day, let us recall how, through IMO, the Organization's Member States, civil society and the shipping industry are working together to maintain a continued and strengthened contribution towards sustainable growth.