Special event on women, ports and facilitation

(10 April 2019)

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, Secretariat, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

It is a pleasure for me to address you at this special event on women, ports and facilitation, bringing together experts to discuss how to empower women in maritime traffic facilitation, how the ports sector would benefit from gender equality and practical steps to increase the number of women in ports.

As a UN agency, IMO is committed to helping its Member States achieve the aims of the 2030 UN Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs.

Our strong commitment to, in particular SDG 5 on gender equality, is demonstrated through this year's World Maritime Day theme, "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community". This year, we want to encourage the entire maritime community to commit to ensuring that women truly are empowered. I hope you will all join us in this important objective.

There is a clear link between ships and ports and the people that operate them. Shipping and ports can play a significant role in helping to create conditions for economic growth, increased employment, prosperity and stability through promoting maritime trade.

Gender balance is not a women's issue, it is a business issue. Studies have repeatedly shown that organizations that have a critical mass of women in leadership perform better and are more profitable.

Although progress has been made, much still needs to be done to help the maritime industry move forwards gender equality.

IMO is actively contributing towards this goal. You may have noticed that the number of women Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the various IMO bodies has increased significantly over the last few years. We have Marina Angsell of Sweden chairing this Committee, Azara Prempeh of Ghana chairing the LC/LP as well as Mayte Medina of the United States, Claudia Grant of Jamaica and Maryanne Adams of the Marshall Islands chairing Sub-Committees. The Secretariat is always looking for suitable candidates and I would invite all delegations to nominate female candidates for such positions.

Today, IMO and WISTA have invited five panellists to share their views on the contribution of women to facilitation of international maritime traffic.

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to WISTA, to the moderator, Ms Galaas of Norway, and the panellists for participating in this event. I am sure their experience and views will be of interest to all participants and encourage other women and girls to choose professions within the maritime industry.

The future is exciting. Let's commit to building a gender-balanced maritime community - together.

I hope you will have a very fruitful and pleasant evening.

Thank you.