Assembly, 30th session, 27 November to 6 December 2017 (Closing remarks)

Closing remarks to the thirtieth regular session of the IMO Assembly
By Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General
IMO Headquarters, 6 December 2017

Mr President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, dear friends.

We have come to an end of a very busy an extremely productive Assembly meeting. Allow me again to thank you for your invaluable support and cooperation. We have had a record number of participants as well as a record number of high level speakers during the opening sessions of the Assembly. We also had a very competitive Council election, following a democratic, fair and transparent process, but above all, a very amicable one, typical of IMO. Congratulations are again in order to the newly elected Council members, as well as appreciation to those who aspire for a position within the Council, demonstrating the great interest of Member States to contribute to the work of the Organization.

At this moment I would like to express my deepest thanks to all Member States who stood for election to the Council for their hard work, effort, dedication and excellent hospitality. The number of participants reached over one thousand, three hundred and eighty and we shall be thankful for such a high participation.

It has been a productive biennium, with several achievements, perhaps too many for me to mention them all now, but please allow me to highlight a few.

We have formally adopted the new Strategic Plan for the Organization for the six-year period 2018 to 2023, and we are now officially moving towards a more effective rule making and implementation process and will further develop the “knowledge based Organization” concept, leading us to a better equipped IMO to improve our future performance.

The biennium marked the commencement of the Member State Audit Scheme, which has been carried out successfully and as planned. We have completed the first GBS audit cycle with great results, and our work has contributed to the reduction of piracy attacks on ships as well as we continue to participate in discussions on measures to address unsafe mixed migration. Several measures have been adopted related to energy efficiency regulations, such as the data collection system for fuel oil consumption and the global sulphur cap in 2020. Mandatory exchange of information were adopted through the amendments to the FAL Convention.

We cannot forget our work towards the implementation of the Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and the uniform application of the guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident.

Following all those achievements, we have delivered a comprehensive programme of technical cooperation activities to support you, the Member States in order to implement those decisions.

And let us not forget the management side of the Secretariat. Last week, several delegations made comments regarding making the Organization more effective and efficient. From the Secretariat’s perspective, we are effective and efficient, but of course we can do better and that is the reason why the functional review is such an important project for us to undertake. It will provide the analysis of our current activities, allowing to find specific areas for any improvement.

In approving the Organization’s budget for the next biennium, you have entrusted me to deliver the mandate given to the best of my abilities, and I will maintain the transparent, and above all, open and communicative process with all of you. I am sure that if we continue on this successful path together we can achieve ever greater things.

I have paid particular attention to all your comments during our consideration of the budget proposal and the human resources aspects, and I will continue to focus on the introduction of better management practices to better address our expenditures, as well as mechanisms to improve the geographical distribution and gender parity of the Secretariat.

We will be celebrating our 70th anniversary next year, and I would like to ask you not just to embrace it, but to spread the word about all of our achievements, and to be passionate about this family. Let’s think together on the next 70 years of IMO, how to remain relevant, and rise to the challenge of approaching new frontier tasks such as autonomous vessels, as well as tangible results from our work towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and our contributions towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This is a great opportunity to raise awareness of our work, our future, and improve our international image. We owe it to the shipping industry and in particular to the seafarers, who are the beating heart of our industry. We need to listen to them, learn from them, as they are the main reason why we regulate shipping, to make it safer and efficient. Their stories and experiences will help us also to keep it an attractive one.

This may be almost our last meeting of the year, but our work does not stop here, my very professional and supportive staff are already preparing for a challenging 2018, not only because amongst other things we have to finalize our initial GHG strategy next April.

But before you all go to a well-deserved holiday break and leave behind the detailed planning required for trying to attend as many as 12 receptions in one night, do not forget IMO, embrace next year’s 70th anniversary, spread the word about all of our achievements, and be passionate about this noble family, that despite seemingly dysfunctional at times, could not be any closer nor a more loving sector to work in. We are planning a range of activities to commemorate such historical occasion, with some pleasant surprises on the way…and I hope you are as excited about it as I am.

The curtain is coming down on another successful year at IMO, one of the most productive organizations but I have no doubt that you will come back ready for more hard work next year.

Thank you once again,

I could not think of a more rewarding job for me to do than this one.
Thank you to all my staff, whose continued dedication to the work of IMO I greatly value. And to the Member States, your continuous contributions and ongoing support will help IMO to remain relevant to the wider world

In conclusion, I want to thank all Member States, NGOs and IGOs. In particular I would like to express my deepest thanks and congratulations to the President of the Assembly, His Excellency Rolando Drago Rodriguez from Chile, to the First Vice President, His Excellency Euripides Evriviades from Cyprus andthe Second Vice President, Her Excellency Tamar Beruchashvili from Georgia.

The Chair of Committee 1, Ms Katy Ware from the United Kingdom, and the two Vice Chairs, Mr Zulkarnain Ayub from Malaysia and Mrs. Rosa Benigno Francisco Sobrinho from Angola.

The Chair of Committee 2, Mr Brad Groves from Australia, and the two Vice Chairs, Mrs. Turid Stemre from Norway and His Excellency Ian Finley from the Cook Islands.

I also want to thank the Chair of the Credentials Committee, Mr Vitaly Klyuev from the Russian Federation and the Chair of the Council, Mr Jeff Lantz from the United States.

I would like to thank the interpreters for the excellent work, and again to all the Secretariat Staff, from all the divisions. In particular, I thank Mr Lawrence Barchue, Assistant Secretary General and Fred Kenney, Director of the Legal and External Division, and the rest of the Directors for their hard work: Ashok, Director of MSD, Stefan, MED, Linda, Administrative Division, Nicolaos, Technical Cooperation Division and Youqiang, Conference Division and also to my Chief of Staff, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez. I thank them all for their great commitment and devotion.

And last but not least, the Cafeteria staff, particularly Frances and Kamal, for their hard work in making sure that our waistline expands greatly just in time for the holiday season!

Thank you. You should give yourselves a big round of applause!