Council, 21st session 19-23 November (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. I am already looking forward to the constructive collaboration and cooperation at our next sessions.

Since our last meeting in July, I have continued to enhance efforts to deliver on our objectives following the direction and guidance, from you, the Member States.

We have held extensive discussions on several important topics. You rightfully established a working group to have a full, inclusive and forward-looking discussion on Council reforms. This is a very timely discussion, as we celebrate IMO's 70th anniversary this year, and this is the perfect time to look to the future.

Over the course of the week, the Working Group had very fruitful and at times challenging deliberations, but which in the end have been very meaningful discussions outlining a promising way forward for this significant topic and deciding on a work plan for the next session.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the representatives supporting the Working Group with their valuable contributions, and for their dedication in the discussion, which, as we already heard, have extended beyond the usual working hours. I would also like to thank Vice-Admiral Edmundo Deville del Campo, of Peru, for so capably steering the Working Group on Council Reform.

On Strategy and Planning, the Working Group on the Strategic Plan made significant progress in strengthening the implementation of the Strategic Plan, in particular by reviewing and enhancing the reporting on the performance indicators. I would like to thank all the representatives participating in the Working Group for their valuable input. Of course, I would like to thank the Chair of the Working Group, Mr. Heinz Decker, for successfully steering the Working Group.

On administrative and financial issues, you provided guidance on how best to deliver the objectives of the Organization, and I will continue to exercise discretion and efficiency in our conduct, and will provide you with further information on key issues.

You also considered the results of the ever important technical work of the Organization. The interest and involvement you express in these discussions demonstrate 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.

I have taken note of all your comments, suggestions, concerns and requests for further information and I will continue to do my best to deliver the work expected from me and my professional and collaborative staff. I look forward to more of these fruitful discussions at our next session.

I am always amazed that, even on subjects on which we may at first seem to have different views, the IMO spirit of cooperation and compromise prevails, leading us to make decisions that steer this Organization into the future.

Finally, I wish to pay a special tribute to all the staff of the Secretariat, and to the interpreters in particular, for their tremendous efforts in the preparation for this meeting, which contributed to its success. I am extremely fortunate to count on the support, experience and expertise of such a great team.

I now have some information regarding personnel matters.

As you may be aware, Mr. Aubrey Botsford, Deputy Director and Chief, Office of General Services in the Administrative Division will retire at the end of this year after almost 28 years of distinguished service. I am certain that you will join me in expressing our gratitude and appreciation for his dedicated and excellent contribution to the mission of IMO and in wishing him all the very best for the next phase in his life.

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.

Thank you for your hard work in chairing this Council. I was impressed by your preparation and dedication, which demonstrated your readiness to conduct one of the most challenging Councils in recent years, based on the diverse range of topics addressed and having had two Working Groups. Thank you again and I look forward to continuing to work with you.

Distinguished delegates, once again, thank you all. As I mentioned yesterday, after you decided to recommend to the Assembly my reappointment for a second term, I am very humbled by the confidence you have placed in me and your support and dedication. 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 winter break and happy holiday season, and I hope to see you all back here again next year.

Thank you.