Council, 122nd session, 15-19 July 2019 (closing remarks)


Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

I would like to congratulate the Council for the constructive and very successful outcome of this session and also the Chair for his excellent leadership. We have held extensive discussions on several important topics.

I would like to start by thanking you for supporting the revised Secretariat Business Plan and the Secretariat's Strategy to support Member States in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. I also would also like to thank you for your support for the document submitted by Singapore et al. to commence the work on the future of IMO. I am looking forward to the collaboration and cooperation on that matter at IMO and other fora.

Regarding Council reform, over the course of the week, the Working Group had very fruitful discussions, which in the end have resulted in finding an agreement on the Council term and size, as well as further discussions on the composition and geographical regions represented in the Council. I particularly welcome your agreement on the draft Assembly resolution on Ethical Considerations and Guidelines for Conduct of IMO Council Election Campaigns for submission to A 31.

I would like to express my deep gratitude to all the representatives supporting the Working Group with their valuable contributions, and for their dedication in the discussion. I would also like to express my special thanks to Vice-Admiral Edmundo Deville del Campo, of Peru, for so capably steering the Working Group on Council Reform.

On administrative and financial issues, you provided valuable guidance on how best to deliver the objectives of the Organization.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your support and endorsement of the Organization's regular budget for the 2020-2021 biennium, acknowledging the efforts by the Secretariat to keep the proposal well within Zero Real Growth. I can assure you that we will continue to deliver our service efficiently and continue to provide the highest level of service.

You also considered the results of the ever-important technical work of the Organization. The interest and involvement you expressed in these discussions demonstrates that all of us are working together to achieve our main objective: to continue to make IMO a successful organization and ready for any future challenges.

Council also considered more difficult issues, in particular regarding the safety and security of ships and most importantly the seafarers on board.

However, even on subjects on which we may at first seem to have different views, the IMO spirit of cooperation prevails, leading us to reach an agreement. In this regard, I would like to express my gratitude to all Council and Observer Member States for their continued support.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Joseph J. Angelo after being awarded the International Maritime Prize. I would also like to convey my appreciation to the Government of Egypt for nominating Admiral Mameesh, an outstanding candidate for the prize.

Regarding the World Maritime Day and the 2019 WMD Theme. This year's theme "Empowering Women in the maritime community" has proven particularly successful, inspiring many panel discussions, events and even the establishment of an IMO Women's Network. In this regard, I would also like to congratulate you on commencing the work on an Assembly resolution on "PRESERVING THE LEGACY OF WORLD MARITIME DAY 2019 AND ACHIEVING A BARRIER-FREE WORKING ENVIRONMENT FOR WOMEN IN SHIPPING". I am sure that the Assembly will appreciate and approve this initiative.

To celebrate the World Maritime Day, I would like to extend my invitation to all Member States to participate in this year's World Maritime Day Parallel Event, which will take place in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia from 15 to 17 September as well as the World Maritime Day Celebrations at IMO, Headquarters on 26 September.

I also thank you for approving the 2020 World Maritime Day Theme "Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet". I believe that this theme will provide an opportunity to highlight the contributions of shipping and IMO towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a sustainable future.

The first half of 2019 has been very busy but highly successful, with all Committees and almost all sub-committees meeting before the Assembly in late November 2019.

The second half of the year will also prove to be a demanding one, with several relevant meetings for us such as our biennial Assembly in November, the United Nations Climate Summit in September and the COP 25 hosted by Chile and focusing on oceans in December. I also would like to extend an invitation to all Member States to the Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, unreported and unregulated Fishing, in Torremolinos, Spain, and to the IMO 2020 and GHG Conference taking place here at IMO. Both events are schedule for October and your participation will contribute considerably towards the objectives of both events.

Distinguished delegates,

I would like to thank those delegates and experts, who are leaving us for various reasons, for their contributions to the work of the Council and indeed this Organization, to wish them all the best for the future, among them:

  • Lieutenant Khirdine Benslim of Algeria

  • Mr. Argyros Madella of Cyprus

We say goodbye to His Excellency Mr. Euripides L. Evriviades, High Commissioner, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to IMO and First Vice-President of the Assembly as well as Her Excellency Madame Nicole Taillefer, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to IMO. Their experience, diplomacy, dedication and devotion to the work of the Organization will be sorely missed and I would like to wish both of you every success and thank you for your great support and collaboration.

Finally, I cannot forget to mention my appreciation to the officers and staff of the Secretariat who have contributed to the successful meeting of Council 122 with their tireless efforts .

I would also pay respect to the interpreters, whose skills and commitment to ensure mutual understanding never fail to impress. And the staff from the cafeteria, who have diligently managed to cater for several functions apart from their regular daily duties, keeping your energized during your deliberations.

I am extremely fortunate to count on the support, experience and dedication of such a great team.

Finally, I wish, once again, to wholeheartedly express my sincere thanks to the Chair of the Council, Mr. Xiaojie Zhang from the People's Republic of China. His patience and outstanding leadership have been demonstrated, and smoothly navigated through a very busy agenda. Thank you again and I look forward to continuing to work with you. Your Vice-Chair, Vice-Admiral Edmundo Deville del Campo of Peru, also deserves special thanks for ably supporting the Chair and the successful Working Group.

Distinguished delegates, once again, thank you all you for your contributions during this Council. All these achievements would not have been possible without your cooperation, collaboration and the overwhelming support you have given to your Chair. I am convinced that, together, we will continue to deliver the results that are expected from this respected and vital Organization.

I wish you a wonderful summer break, and I hope to see you all back here again in November for the Extraordinary Session of the Council and the Assembly.

Thank you.