Ministerial Stakeholders Conference, Malta

Ministerial Stakeholders Conference, Malta
28 March 2017
Speech by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General
International Maritime Organization

Ministers, ladies and gentlemen,

Shipping will be a vital component of sustainable development in the future but, for now, it is searching for ways to ensure its own sustainability in the current climate. Perhaps the only real certainty shipping faces is that the way ahead will be challenging. We all know that shipping is a cyclical industry, but today it is under greater commercial pressure than for a very long time. And, while some sectors have been hit harder than others, the overall picture has not been good.

At IMO we do not get involved in the day-to-day business side of shipping. Our role is to create a global regulatory framework to ensure that shipping is safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable.

We do this in two ways. First, we develop and adopt a global regulatory regime for shipping that embraces the highest practicable standards.

And second, we back this up with an extensive programme of technical assistance and capacity building, to ensure that, once adopted, the standards can be implemented evenly and effectively.

The various efforts and initiatives underway at IMO in this respect benefit people all over the world and help ensure that shipping can play its part in delivering the sustainable development that is essential to our future.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the EU and its Member States for the positive and active role you have played in this process – and I would also like to call on you, indeed all stakeholders, to consider what you can do to help ensure IMO’s strategy is sufficiently ambitious, while also addressing the cost concerns.

Looking ahead, in 2017 we will continue to pursue our broad objectives. I am particularly keen to highlight the importance of ‘joined-up’ maritime development across all sectors, especially in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

With this in mind, our theme for 2017 is “Connecting ships, ports and people”. It gives us an opportunity to highlight the value of integration in the maritime and logistics sectors – both from a policy and a practical perspective. IMO’s role as the global regulator of the shipping industry can enhance this integration - as consistent, uniform regulation facilitates the free flow of commerce.

Finding consensus on these and other issues, through a process of discussion among all stakeholders, is one of the great strengths of IMO. IMO has 172 Member States but it is important to remember that not all countries are at the same stage of development. No country should be left behind in our negotiations.

Shipping is a global industry and it needs global regulation to ensure the same standards to apply to all ships.

This is important principle. Everybody suffers if it is undermined, not just the shipping industry but the billions of people all over the world who depend on it.

Thank you.