IMO 70 Forum - better shipping for a better future

IMO 70 Forum
15 May 2018, IMO Headquarters
Opening address by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General
International Maritime Organization

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you here today to what I am sure will be a stimulating and thought-provoking event – the IMO 70 forum.

As you all know, this year is a special one for IMO, as we celebrate not one but two major anniversaries: 70 years since the IMO Convention was adopted and 60 years since it entered into force.

Our theme for the year – “IMO 70: Our heritage: better shipping for a better future” – looks both at the past and into the years that lie ahead. It provides an opportunity to reflect and showcase how IMO has developed and adapted while staying true to its overall mission – to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping.

IMO can be justifiably proud of its record of steering the shipping industry, through regulation, to being ever safer, greener and cleaner and sustainable. The film we have just seen captures some of the key milestones on that journey we have made together, tracing the gradual expansion of the Organization’s remit from purely safety issues to embrace areas such as environmental protection, maritime security and compensation for accident victims.

Since its beginning, IMO has worked to ensure that the people of the world can continue to benefit from shipping in a manner that meets the needs of the global economy, but also changing expectations about safety, environmental protection, social responsibility and so on.

This forum provides an opportunity to make sure we are still doing that, and that we are properly equipped to continue on that course into the future.

Looking ahead, we are already beginning to expand and widen our areas of interest and influence still further. The quest for sustainable development, for example, is now at the heart of so much that the United Nations family is seeking to achieve; and, as a very proud and active member of that family, we are also fully engaged in those efforts.

IMO is also increasingly engaged in what has become known as “ocean governance”, a term which embraces a clear recognition of both the essential value and importance of the ocean to the future well-being of mankind; and the fact that plans, policies and strategies for the use of the ocean cannot, by definition, be formulated in isolation.

I am delighted that we have managed to assemble such a diverse panel of experts for this forum, from different fields and disciplines, to help us take a wider and longer view of IMO and its activities. And I am sure that we are in for some lively debate and conversation as we discuss key issues such as:

  • How can regulation keep pace with technology?
  • How can IMO modernise?
  • Can we foresee the “new” issues? and
  • Are we ready to cope when they arise?

I am delighted, too, that our moderator today is an old friend, Richard Clayton. Richard is a very highly-respected maritime journalist, researcher, analyst and opinion-former, and I know that he will not only keep today’s proceedings moving along at a good pace, he will also add his own unique insights and opinions to what I am sure will be a fascinating mixture.

So, without further ado, let me wish you all a stimulating and fruitful event – and hand over to Richard to steer proceedings from here.

Thank you.