Sustainable Blue Economy conference - Sub-theme - Smart Shipping, Ports, Transportation and Global Connectivity

Sustainable Blue Economy conference Kenya – Sub-theme - Smart Shipping, Ports, Transportation and Global Connectivity

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

Principal Secretary Karigithu, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for this opportunity to be here in Nairobi and to take part in such an important and crucial event.

International events such as these help the public recognise the importance of our oceans to highlight the role shipping plays in maintaining a healthy planet and sustainable economies.

IMO is the United Nations Specialized Agency charged with a key element of supporting a sustainable economic growth and healthy oceans.

Over the years, IMO has developed more than 50 instruments to improve the safety and environmental impact of shipping and in that time, we have seen significant achievement as shipping has become safer, greener and more efficient.

This year is a significant one for IMO. The Organization is celebrating two milestones – 70 years since it was formed and 60 years since it became operational.

Every year IMO choses a maritime theme to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment, and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work. This year, the theme reflects the past and the future of the Organization, and it is: "Our Heritage: Better Shipping for a Better Future."

This allows us to look towards the years ahead and highlight how the IMO, as a part of the UN family, will remain a relevant part of the industry.

So, rather than dwell on the success of the past, I would like to focus on the future, and on the role IMO plays in forging a sustainable and connected industry.

Shipping has had and will always have a significant function in the global economy, but it is not a role we should take for granted.

There needs to be more cooperation between shipping and other sectors, such as the ports and logistics industries, as we strive to find efficiencies to establish sustainable green global supply chains.
The importance of this is underscored by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, to which the IMO is fully committed.

The achievement of these goals requires strong collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders. With this we will see a prosperous, smart and green shipping industry contributing to a blue economy that will be a benefit to mankind.

These goals will not be without challenges and IMO is already addressing many of them.

Let me highlight the historic adoption by IMO earlier this year of an initial strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.

I cannot stress strongly enough how significant this is. For the first time, there is a clear commitment to a complete phase out of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, a specific linkage to the Paris Agreement. The focus now is on consideration of measures to implement the strategy.

In implementing this strategy, the shipping industry will depend on the support and cooperation of the port and logistics industry, with the provision of on shore supply and the further development of just-in-time operations.

Another key IMO measure helping shipping to secure its environmental sustainability, is the reduction in the global sulphur content in ships' fuel oil that will enter into force on the first of January 2020. This is a landmark decision for both the environment and for human health.

We are currently working on any necessary measure that may need to be put into place to further enhance appropriate implementation of the regulation, including relevant guidelines to support the shipping industry.

The requirements of this regulation impact the relationship between ship and port, as port infrastructure will have a significant effect on successful implementation of the sulphur 2020 requirements.

Digitalization and advancement in technologies such as robotics, automation and big data will usher structural changes and enable fully autonomous ports and unmanned semi-autonomous ships.

IMO is also showing a strong commitment to tackling the onset of digitalization in shipping. We are currently assessing the regulatory aspects of autonomous vessels. A regulatory scoping exercise is looking into the regulatory aspects of autonomous vessels.

Cooperation and communication between shipping, ports and logistics are crucial to facilitate trade and foster economic growth and prosperity.

IMO is constantly contributing to this collaboration, especially in its Facilitation Committee and by hosting regular events to foster and develop this cooperation among those key stakeholders.

Ladies and Gentleman,

As John F. Kennedy once rightly said:

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

For the maritime industry, the future will bring some radical new trends in the world, which will be driven by technology. Big data, artificial intelligence, and new sources of energy are emerging in the industry, all with new safety and security considerations that have to be addressed.

We see a growing number of coastal vessels being built with batteries and fuel cells. This energy revolution, along with the growing relationship with ports and other ocean industries has a clear connection with the Sustainable Development Goals, in support of the 2030 Agenda.

The UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals represent one of the most important initiatives of the UN and are aimed at setting clear goals and targets to protect our planet and ensure prosperity for the future.

As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is, as you would expect, firmly and strongly committed to the global Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our technical cooperation programme, with its emphasis on capacity building, enhancing partnerships and mobilizing resources among our members, is central to the Organization's response to the SDGs.

IMO is ready to proactively engage with all of these new and radical trends and work at full strength to steer the maritime community safely into the future.

Shipping remains a vital global link to supporting sustainable international trade and a blue ocean economy.

I thank the government of Kenya and the organisers for the opportunity to be here today and speak about these important issues, and I wish you fruitful discussions.

Thank you.