Council 127th session, 11-15 July 2022 (opening remarks)

 127th session of the Council

Opening remarks by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO

"Thank you, Mr. Chair,

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

I welcome you to the virtual meetings of the 127th session of the Council. And I am very glad to see many delegates participating from the Plenary today.

We had a very busy but also productive first half of 2022. I have no doubt that the second half of the year will be equally productive. This week, you have very important items on your agenda, that will guide the work of the Organization for the rest of 2022 and beyond.

Distinguished delegates,

Before addressing you with regard to matters under consideration at this Council meeting, I would like to express profound sorrow for the tragic passing of the former Prime Minister of Japan, His Excellency Mr. Shinzo Abe.

On behalf of the Organization, I would like to express my deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the government, and people of Japan.

I also like to wish the Bahamas my congratulations on the occasion of their 49th Anniversary of Independence. 

Distinguished delegates,

Shipping continues to make a critical contribution to world trade and is invaluable to the global supply chains and this was evident even at the peak of the pandemic when shipping ensured that goods continued to be delivered across the globe often at a huge price for seafarers.

Distinguished delegates,

Just two weeks ago, we celebrated the Day of the Seafarer, paying tribute to seafarers everywhere. Without seafarers, there would be no shipping. Their role is vital to ensuring the continuity of the global supply chain.

I am deeply appreciative of efforts made by Member States and industry to support seafarers throughout the pandemic and in the wake of the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Seafarers remain at the heart of shipping and the work of this Organization.

I would like to reiterate that seafarers and shipping should not become collateral victims of larger political issues. The welfare of seafarers and the need for international shipping to move freely and unhindered are critical to the continuous operation of global supply chains, for the benefit of all peoples of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We celebrated the first International Day for Women in Maritime on 18 May. This achievement is a milestone for our continuous voyage to further gender parity in the maritime sector and encourage women to join maritime professions.

I would like to thank all Member States, IGOs and NGOs that participated in IMO's webinar and reception, as well as those that organised their own events.

I hope these celebrations will enhance the movement towards greater inclusivity and diversity within our industry and will echo in every corner of the maritime world for years to come.

Regarding this week's meeting, you have a very busy agenda, with important decisions to be taken by the Council.

You are scheduled to discuss matters arising from the 35th extraordinary session.

With regard to your work on Council reform, after the major decisions at the last Assembly, you will continue to progress on the work programme tackling the outstanding issues.

I would also continue to encourage all IMO Member States to ratify the amendments to the IMO Convention as soon as possible.

Further, for resource management matters, you will hear an update on the measures taken to enhance the gender and geographical representation within the Secretariat. I look forward to your comments and suggestions, as this is one of my priority topics.

On the budget, we will update on budget considerations and measures to be implemented to ensure the financial sustainability of the Organization, in particular given the current economic situation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are expected to return to meeting in person in September. I wish to thank 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.

As always, I would like to stress that the Secretariat is and will continue to do its utmost to support IMO Member States in ensuring that we can advance our important work on issues that will shape the Organization and the shipping industry's future.

I am confident that with the usual cooperation and collaboration that embodies our deliberations at IMO, you will have open and constructive discussions and reach an agreement on the agenda items under consideration.

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.

Let me conclude by thanking you once again for your continued confidence, support, and cooperation.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.