9th International Maritime Conference - Development of Blue Economy under a Secure and Sustainable Environment

9th International Maritime Conference (13 – 15 February 2021)

"Development of Blue Economy under a Secure and Sustainable Environment - A Shared Future for Western Indian Ocean Region"

Organized by National Institute of Maritime Affairs, Pakistan

Opening remarks by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO

Excellencies, Mr. President, Ministers, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be with you today, to share my thoughts with you, 올'비이트albeit virtually.

I would like to commend Pakistan for organizing such a timely event to discuss pertinent policy issues,

bringing together countries to exchange views on areas of common interest, in particular considering the significance of the Western Indian Ocean region for seaborn trade.

The maritime sector is at the heart of connecting global supply chains around the world and has shown surprising resilience in continuing to deliver vital goods and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But we have much work yet to do.

Our focus must be on finding solutions and preparing for the post-COVID world.

The ability for shipping services and seafarers to deliver world trade is central to building a sustainable blue economy.

Seafarers are at the core of shipping's future, their dedication and professionalism are worthy of great admiration.

We have dedicated this year's world maritime theme "Seafarers: at the core of shipping's future" to the heroes who continue to deliver essential goods and services throughout the pandemic and beyond.

 Thanks to seafarers, international shipping has kept global trade flowing. Yet, we still have a huge task to resolve, the crew change crisis, and ensure the relief and repatriation of seafarers stranded at sea, beyond their contracted time.

This humanitarian crisis threatens trade and safe navigation.

We need seafarers to be designated as key workers, as outlined in the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted in December.

To date, 54 IMO Member States have declared this designation.  However, we need more Member States to support it.

Key worker designation is crucial to ensure prioritization for vaccination.

IMO has spared no efforts, working with Member States, UN agencies, and the shipping industry to ensure that operations can continue safely.

I appreciate the commitment of more than 500 companies and entities who recently signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change.

Let's all put seafarers at the heart of our conversations and actions this year.

Looking beyond the pandemic, we must all commit to a sustainable post-pandemic recovery.

The world relies on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry, which is provided by the regulatory framework developed and maintained by IMO.

Collaboration, cooperation, and communication has never been more important. We need to work together to enhance the resilience and green credentials of shipping.

Blue Economy encourages better stewardship of our oceans and blue' resources. Action on climate change is essential.

IMO's initial GHG strategy has set us on a course to phase out GHG emissions from shipping.

We must build on the achievements so far.

We have progressed many candidate measures laid out in the strategy.

We adopted mandatory measures to improve energy efficiency nearly 10 years ago; and this June we will adopt measures to cut carbon intensity of ships.

IMO Member States have committed to revising the initial IMO GHG strategy in 2023 – we are on the right track for decarbonization.

But we need even more commitment from stakeholders, donor countries, partners and industry, so that our capacity-building work and various partnership projects continue to support developing countries.

IMO's agenda goes beyond climate. Our work, particularly in capacity-building, aims to support a sustainable blue economy.

To ensure a sustainable global ocean economy, IMO continues to work together with Member States and the maritime industry to support the decarbonization of shipping;

  • the facilitation of shipping through increased digitalization involving ports;
  • tackling marine plastic litter and the spread of invasive aquatic species through biofouling
  • and not least ensuring a sustainable and diverse maritime workforce. All these aspects are key to successful and sustainable governance of our oceans.

Safe, efficient, secure and environment-friendly shipping fosters and bolsters all economies.

This is why I encourage all States to ratify all IMO treaties and fully implement them.

This includes maritime security measures.

Threats to international shipping and seafarers continue to evolve in different critical maritime routes.  

IMO's Global Maritime Security Programme continues to evolve to tackle these challenges.

We are supporting Member States to develop a coordinated "whole-of-government" approach to maritime security.

We have launched an important project with the EU and other implementing partners to deliver long term and sustained improvements in maritime security

and the safety of navigation across Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.

Comprehensive technical assistance will be provided to strengthen maritime security in nine beneficiary countries.

And we continue to provide technical assistance to Djibouti Code of Conduct signatory States.

I thank and recognize the important contributions made by our partners and the states in the region, including significant naval efforts which do so much --- to counter piracy in the Western Indian Ocean.

I urge all IMO Member States to fully engage as we strive to innovate and work together to address current and future threats to maritime security within the region and beyond. 

Maritime trade is and will remain vital to the world's economy. Cooperation and communication are key to achieve our common goal --- the protection and sustainable development of the ocean.

I am certain, that the presentations, discussions, and exchange of views during this conference will provide new input for our considerations on the development of blue economy -- under a secure and sustainable environment.

I wish you successful deliberations.

Thank you.