IMLI 30th anniversary event, IMO Headquarters

Introductory remarks by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at the IMLI 30th anniversary event, IMO Headquarters, Plenary, 25 June 2019, 4.30 p.m.


Honourable Prime Minister of Malta, Dr. Joseph Muscat,

Secretary-General Emeritus, Mr. Koji Sekimizu,


IMLI Director and members of the IMLI Governing Board,

President of ITLOS,

Distinguished Speakers,

IMLI Graduates,

Distinguished Guests,

I wish to welcome you today to this special event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI). Established by IMO in 1988, the Institute's mission is to enhance capacity-building in all States, particularly developing States, and to contribute to the fulfilment of the IMO objectives, thereby promoting safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping through cooperation. 

Over the past 30 years, the Institute has been accomplishing this mission by providing legal training of the highest standards and by disseminating knowledge to support the development of expertise in all aspects of international maritime law, as well as in legislative drafting techniques with the purpose of incorporating international maritime instruments into national law. This outstanding work has allowed the Institute to take its place in the elite of international educational centers.

The Institute was established in Malta, through an Agreement between the Government of Malta and IMO, aiming to fill the gap between the adoption of international treaties and regulations and their adequate implementation and enforcement by their State Parties.

Today, we take great pride in IMLI's tremendous achievements. Since its inception, the Institute has equipped over 1,000 maritime professionals from 146 States and territories with the necessary skills to serve their countries and the global maritime community.

It gives me great satisfaction to recognize IMLI's full commitment to contributing to IMO's work towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, through its intensive education, training, and research agenda.

Moreover, with this year's World Maritime theme "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community", I am especially pleased to recall that this has been the Institute's vision since its inception.

At a time when the maritime industry was deemed to be a male domain; the Institute's Statute established a policy to reserve 50 per cent of the places for female candidates. This policy has contributed to the promotion of gender equality and to the empowerment of female professionals to become part of the maritime industry.

Indeed, many of the Institute's female alumnae are highly regarded in the maritime sector and are playing a vital role in both the academic and shipping world. I note with pride that in recent years, the female student population has actually outnumbered the male students.

Of course, IMLI's success would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and various institutions from both public and private domain, to whom I am deeply grateful.

On this occasion, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Malta and its citizens for ensuring that it became a centre of excellence in maritime law and education. I am deeply thankful to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for his unswerving support to IMLI and I am very honoured for his presence here at IMO today. This is his first visit and I am glad that he came on such a special occasion, to celebrate IMLI's 30th anniversary.

I am indebted to the previous IMO Secretaries-General for their sterling work in ensuring that the Institute fulfils its mandate and serves proudly the rule of international maritime law. My sincere appreciation goes to all the distinguished personalities who have served and continue to serve as Members of the Institute's Governing Board. Their commitment to excellence has been instrumental in the achievements of the Institute.

I am also grateful to the Institute's donors who, for decades now, believe in its global mission and contribute through the provision of generous funds to the capacity-building of national administrations worldwide.

Finally, I am especially thankful to the dedicated IMLI staff, both academic and administrative, past and present and, in particular, Professor David Attard, as the Director of the Institute. Their hard work and relentless efforts have made the Institute rise to the highest standards.

I trust that you will join me in expressing the warmest congratulations to IMLI for completing 30 years of excellence in the service of international maritime law. We look forward to IMLI's contribution for many years to come.