IMLI Graduation ceremony
Malta, 27 May 2017
Speech by Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General
Honourable Speaker, President Emeritus, Honourable Minister, Excellencies, distinguished ladies, gentlemen and students, it is my pleasure join you here today and I wish to congratulate the class of 2017 on its graduation from this unique institution.
In joining the ranks of over 800 IMLI graduates, you are taking your place amongst a celebrated body of professionals, held in the highest esteem by the maritime and legal communities it serves. The IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) is one of the cornerstones of IMO’s capacity‑building mission and the Organization is honoured to be affiliated with its inspiring aims and achievements.
Unobtrusively and efficiently, shipping reaches into the furthest corners of the globe to supply the world's populations with an uninterrupted daily flow of goods. We can truly say that there is no part of our lives which has not been touched by shipping. But for the maritime industry to remain safe, secure, clean and effective, it needs to rest on a foundation of globally-enforced standards. IMO is the United Nations (UN) agency responsible for developing and maintaining those international standards, while responsibility for implementing them rests with national governments. In other words, IMO conventions and instruments need to be enshrined in national law, and that is where the in-depth knowledge and experience of an IMLI graduate becomes paramount. Because the key role rests with you, as highly-trained legal professionals, to help your countries establish the solid legal framework needed for the maritime sector to thrive safely and efficiently.
The Institute continues, year upon year, to strengthen the national maritime legislation capacities of the 136 countries and territories that have benefited from IMLI to-date. It assists IMO, through the delivery of its objectives and international outreach, to promote the key precepts of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, it contributes directly to the implementation of SDG4 "Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote life-long learning", helping to reduce gender disparities in post-graduate education and encourage equal access to specialized maritime training.
Whether it be with your government administrations, commercial industry, or through international organizations, you may one day be called upon to shoulder great responsibility in decision-making roles. You will influence the very foundation which enables safe and secure shipping to grow and drive the economies of both developing and developed countries. We therefore owe a debt of gratitude to an Institute – with all of its staff and many supporters and donors – that, for nearly three decades, has been one of the key contributors to the well-being of the maritime sector.
Today is a time for celebration and contemplation, of reflecting and looking onward to how your success at IMLI will offer a springboard for new opportunities. I wish all the graduates every success in their future endeavours, and I very much look forward to meeting many of them in a professional capacity in the coming years.