UN Secretary-General's second Global Sustainable Transport Conference - Thematic session 3 "Sustainable transport and connectivity, including rural areas and countries in special situations"

UN Secretary-General's second Global Sustainable Transport Conference

14-16 October 2021

Thematic session 3 "Sustainable transport and connectivity, including rural areas and countries in special situations" covering the important role of shipping for global connectivity, international supply chains and trade.

Friday, 15 October 2021

 Remarks by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

Thank you, moderator.

Shipping drives world trade, carrying over 80% of global trade across the oceans. For countries in special situations including Small Island Developing States, ships act as moving bridges, connecting outlying island communities to the main economic hubs of the region

Shipping is truly essential. Through the pandemic and beyond, we need to redouble our efforts to ensure that maritime transport is sustainable and that our oceans are preserved. This means ensuring, safe, secure, and efficient transport– and reducing shipping's environmental footprint

For more than six decades, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has developed and adopted a comprehensive set of regulations for maritime safety, security, efficiency, and the protection of the marine environment. The implementation of our regulations has ensured that Ship casualty rates have declined, and stringent pollution prevention, control and response measures have been implemented globally.  The maritime regulatory framework has allowed shipping to continue to deliver world trade even through the pandemic.

But we need to do more.

Digitalization has come to the fore during the pandemic. We need to make sure the advantages of automation and efficient exchange of information over digital channels are shared widely. We are rolling out IMO's technical assistance work to even out inequalities in implementation.

The latest technical reports send a clear message that we need to accelerate decarbonization in all industrial and transport sectors, and shipping has to play its part.

Shipping's decarbonization journey has already begun. Mandatory energy efficiency regulations for international shipping were first adopted in 2011 and the momentum has built, with further measures.

The initial IMO GHG strategy – a policy framework – is set to be upgraded by 2023. IMO Member States have already started to discuss further measures, including incentivization of alternative fuels and innovative technologies.

IMO's regulations are not just verbal commitments. They are binding energy efficiency requirements – enforced globally on ships operating worldwide regardless of their nationalities.

Decarbonisation will require innovation, research and development, infrastructure and financing. Low- and zero-carbon fuels will need to be supplied to ships.

There are many encouraging signals, with industry initiatives flourishing within the maritime community.

However, the decarbonization of shipping will not happen without active support to ensure developing countries are on the same voyage in the transition to decarbonization. IMO is  the global maritime forum to broker cooperation and consensus among our Member States; and has put in place a number of projects supporting capacity-building, innovation, financing and technology transfer.

Sustainable transport will be at the heart of the global recovery. We must rebuild collaboratively inclusively, equitably and sustainably, leaving no one behind.