Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF),
25-27 April, China
Theme: "Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future''
Speech theme: “Up-level Maritime Safety, Enhance Maritime Connectivity”
Speech by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO
Excellencies, government representatives, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be here and I am grateful to the Government of China for organizing this event, and for the opportunity to share a few words with you.
For those of you who may not be aware, IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Through IMO, our Member States develop and adopt safety, environmental and facilitation standards for international shipping, which are then applied and enforced universally. This process gives a truly global industry the level playing field it needs to operate effectively. We have 174 Member States, of which China is one of the most committed and active.
When you consider that shipping carries more than 80 per cent of global trade, and forms a key element in the Belt and Road initiative, you can see the importance of our participation in this forum today.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has spoken publicly of the common ground between the Belt and Road initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals. These were adopted by world leaders in 2015; and helping our Member States to deliver them is one of IMO’s key strategic objectives.
Both the Belt and Road and the SDGs aim to create sustainable public growth through economic opportunities; both aim to promote connectivity in infrastructure, trade, finance and policy-making – and, most importantly, among people.
Belt and Road combines both land and maritime elements. At IMO, our focus is clearly on the maritime elements.
Over many years, we have witnessed, and participated in, many different schemes aimed at improving and developing sustainable use of maritime resources, in what has now become widely known as the Blue Economy. Although none has been on quite the scale of Belt and Road, it has become clear that initiatives such as this have enormous potential for good – provided that sustainability is always pre-eminent among the overall goals and objectives.
One thing I find especially encouraging about the Belt and Road initiative is that it takes a truly integrated approach. Transport is very much a chain – and no link in that chain can really be effective if viewed in isolation. At IMO, we are seeing an evolution, as our Member States become increasingly aware that the actions they take with regard to ships must be viewed directly in terms of their wider impact, throughout the entire supply chain, particularly in ports.
Cooperative and strategic thinking about how best to link producers and consumers is what that global transport infrastructure needs.
The Belt and Road initiative can be a good example of that concept in action.
I trust that the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will also benefit from IMO’s numerous achievements, including the greenhouse gas reduction strategy and energy efficiency measures to address climate change, digitalization to benefit the environment and human health, the single-window concept to further facilitate international trade, as well as the continued enhancement of maritime safety, security standards and environmental protection.
Ladies and gentleman,
Maritime transport is and will remain a vital global link to supporting sustainable international trade for the socio-economic development of countries.
I am certain that this forum will provide ample opportunities to establish and foster communication and cooperation of all stakeholders and result in concrete action plans to strengthen infrastructure and connectivity. I would once again like to thank the Government of China for the ambitious initiative and the organization of the high-level forum.
I can also assure you that IMO, as the global regulator of international shipping, is ready to establish new partnerships for cooperation and sustainable economic growth for the benefit of all mankind.