Remarks by the Secretary-General Kitack Lim
On the occasion of the reception to commemorate 50 years since the adoption of the London Convention
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
it is a great pleasure to welcome you as we commemorate 50 years since the adoption of the London Convention. Five decades is an impressive age, and we have reason to take a few moments and reflect on where we are , how we got here and where we are going.
When the London Convention was adopted on 13 November 1972, the international community recognized that we have a collective responsibility to protect the environment and to, in particular, address the deliberate and indiscriminate dumping of wastes at sea.
IMO was invited to assume the duties as the permanent role of secretariat to the Convention, which it has done since 1977.
In the years that followed, the London Convention consolidated its position as one of the first and foremost international treaties regulating the human impacts on the ocean, dealing with a variety of issues. It is worth noting that the Convention predates both MARPOL and UNCLOS.
The Convention evolved into the Protocol, and since the Protocol entered into force in 2006, both treaties have continued to meet in conjunction, as "two treaties, one family", a family that has now grown to 100 Parties.
The Convention may have reached the impressive milestone of half a century, but the treaties continue to stay relevant by addressing new and emerging issues.
The focus on regulating climate change mitigation technologies that have the potential to cause harm to the marine environment was a natural step as the climate change agenda became the dominating concern for humanities survival, and it is clear that this work will only increase in the years ahead.
As the United Nations Secretary-General has stated, we are facing a triple planetary crisis, - a pollution, biodiversity loss, and a climate change.
In addressing all of these threats, the London Convention and Protocol have played key roles over the last five decades in the governance of our ocean, located in the interface between land-based and sea-based activities.
I am certain the treaties will continue to do so for many decades to come.
I am therefore hopeful that this year will offer the stocktaking and inspiration needed to propel the treaties into enhanced action in order to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.
On our end, IMO is proud to be the Secretariat for the London Convention and Protocol, and I can assure you that we will continue to support current and prospective Parties to ensure that we deliver together.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation to the Government of the United Kingdom, as the hosts of the diplomatic conference that adopted the London Convention in 1972, for hosting today's commemorative reception.
As this week will no doubt be a busy one, I am pleased to also reiterate that next week, IMO and WMU will convene a joint academic conference to give us a further opportunity to reflect in more detail, and I hope that many of you as possible will be there, in Malmo or online.