International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace - 24 April

International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace - 24 April

Statement by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

On the Day of Mutlilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace we stand together with our sister United Nations Agencies and our member states in preserving the values of multilateralism and international cooperation, which underpin the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has most vividly illustrated the imperative for collaboration, cooperation and communication amongst all Governments and stakeholders to meet and overcome the challenges facing our world.

At the International Maritime Organization, the longstanding "IMO spirit" fully embraces multilateralism and cooperation and is a key ingredient to successfully address complex technical and policy issues in order to gain consensus amongst more than 170 Member States. The IMO spirit of cooperation has resulted in a comprehensive body of globally accepted rules and standards for ships, essential for maintaining safe, secure, environment-friendly, and efficient shipping. 

This collaborative effort has come to the fore during the pandemic. Dialogue, collaboration, cooperation, and partnership has been in evidence throughout, to develop solutions to the crew change crisis which has seen hundreds of thousands of seafarers stuck at sea amid travel and transit restrictions. Through diplomacy and multilateralism, we have raised awareness of this human rights issue and we have seen the numbers impacted fall – although more remains to be done.

The UN General Assembly resolution on international cooperation to address seafarer challenges, adopted in December 2020 - which called on all Governments to designate seafarers as key workers - was the result of intense diplomatic efforts. Governments, United Nations Agencies, and other stakeholders have worked together to reduce the number of seafarers that remain stranded. The Stakeholders have also collaborated on many different fronts including through IMO-organized regional webinars to share their experiences and best practices in addressing crew changes. This is multilateralism in action.

With the IMO spirit of cooperation, we have developed remote working modalities to continue IMO's important regulatory work on safety, security, efficiency and the protection of the marine environment. Most importantly, despite the pandemic, IMO Member States have approved additional measures that will further reduce emissions from ships and continue IMO's efforts to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in line with the initial IMO GHG Strategy, which pledges to cut emissions and work towards phasing out GHG emissions from shipping entirely as soon as possible in this century. Diplomacy, multilateralism, collaboration and technical expertise will continue to lead us on the right path to achieve our decarbonization goals.

I thank all Member States and stakeholders for their commitment, in these difficult times, to continuing IMO's important work. Together, in the "IMO Spirit", we are stronger, and we will move forward.