Council, 128th session, 28 November-2 December 2022 (opening remarks)
Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, good morning.
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the first in-person Council session for over two years. I also welcome all those joining remotely, with the use of our hybrid capabilities.
We had a very busy and productive year.
I have no doubt that will continue our very successful 2022, with this week's Council and MEPC 79 in two weeks. We have made much progress on many agenda items, since we have been able to return to our normal working hours since September.
This week, you have very important items on your agenda, that will guide the work of the Organization for the rest of the second half of this biennium and beyond.
Shipping continues to provide a critical contribution to world trade and is invaluable to the global supply chains. This was evident during the pandemic and also evidenced by recent geopolitical challenges.
The ongoing military conflict in Ukraine remains a matter of grave concern at all levels. Its major impact on the safety and welfare of seafarers; the safety of shipping operations and ships, particularly those stranded in the affected areas; and the global supply chain continues to be a concern.
Despite the challenges, the establishment of the Humanitarian Maritime Corridor and the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July has shown what can be achieved with the cooperation of all involved parties. I am encouraged that an agreement has been reached recently to extend the initiative.
IMO continues to persevere in efforts to secure the safety of seafarers and shipping and the movement of stranded ships.
I am deeply appreciative of efforts made by Member States and industry to support seafarers and I strongly urge all Member States to cooperate to ensure that the safety of shipping and seafarers is not compromised.
Regarding this week's meeting, you have a very busy agenda, with important decisions to be taken by the Council.
You will start the development of the Strategic Plan for the six-year period 2024 to 2029 paving the way for our strategic focus areas for the next six years.
With regard to your work on Council reform, you will continue to progress on the work programme tackling the outstanding issues on live streaming and other matters.
I would also continue to encourage all IMO Member States to ratify the amendments to the IMO Convention as soon as possible to enable the implementation of the reforms agreed.
Further, for resource management matters, you will hear an update on the measures to enhance the gender and geographical representation within the Secretariat.
With regard to budgetary matters, we will be updated on budget considerations for 2022 and 2023 on measures to be implemented to ensure the financial sustainability of the Organization, in particular given the current economic situation. You will also be provided with a budget outline for the next biennium 2024-2025.
You will also consider the Technical Cooperation Committee report, as well as a proposal to establish an International Women in Maritime Prize, building on the International Day for Women in Maritime by the Assembly last year.
You will have the opportunity to provide your input and comments on the development of the Member States Audit, our global, Maritime Training Institutions, and other matters.
I am really glad to see so many of you back in person at IMO Headquarters. And I would like to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to all Member States, IGOs and NGOs for the support over the past two years that have ensured that the Organization continued to make progress in all relevant areas and for our work to ensure the widest participation by all through our development of the hybrid capabilities. Rest assured that we will continue to further enhance this experience.
I am confident that with the usual cooperation and collaboration during our deliberations, you will have open and constructive discussions at this session and will be able to progress our work.
I have no doubt that with the able leadership of your Chair Mr. Victor Jimenez Fernandez of Spain, and your Vice-Chair, Mrs. Amane Fethallah of Morocco, you will be successful in your deliberations.
I am also looking forward to seeing you this afternoon at our event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of UNCLOS, which will provide many interesting presentation and discussions, as well as, of course the reception following the event.
Let me conclude by thanking you once again for your continued confidence, support, and cooperation.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.