UNGC High Level meeting on Ocean

UNGC High Level meeting on Ocean

Oslo, Norway 4 April 2022 (15:00-17:00 CET, Prime Minister's residence)

Opening remarks

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO

Excellencies, Minister, Executive Director, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join you today for this important meeting on our ocean. I thank the government of Norway and UN Global Compact for the initiative in bringing the key stakeholders together and for inviting me to address this important event. 

Shipping is a prime user of the oceans. Ships cross the seas, delivering vital goods and commodities. Shipping is the most economic and environmentally sustainable mode of transport – but of course, we must strive to do more to protect our oceans.

That is why we, at the International Maritime Organization, have been working with governments and the maritime industry to ensure a sustainable blue economy by promoting ocean governance and enhancing the cooperation and collaboration of all maritime stakeholders.

But we need to look ahead to the future of the industry. We need to seize the opportunity to drive green transition and ensure a sustainable maritime future, taking advantage of all that technology has to offer, whilst continuing to keep seafarers and maritime personnel are at the core of shipping's future.

One major contribution to this green and sustainable maritime future will be the digitalization of shipping, which is progressing rapidly.

Big data, and new and smart technologies such as artificial intelligence are key to enhance safety, to improve environmental performance, and to facilitate more efficient and sustainable shipping, while managing cyber security risks.

We must adopt more agile, flexible and innovative systems to drive the digitalization and automation in the maritime community, enhance the resilience of the maritime supply chain and support sustainable development. 

Digitalization is a solution – but the challenge is to ensure it is fully implemented across all nations and all ports.

This will only be achieved with greater levels of collaboration. We will push for a renewed focus on capacity building to get everyone on board the digital voyage and an increased cooperation between shipping, ports and logistics. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Further action on emissions and climate change is needed to tackle ocean acidification and the warming of the planet's seas. Shipping is steaming ahead towards a transition to meet the demands for sustainable transport and to address climate change by cutting emissions.

A strengthened revised IMO GHG strategy is set to be adopted in 2023. Essential work must be completed to set the path for the decarbonization of the shipping industry, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement of 2015 and the Glasgow Climate Pact adopted at COP 26. The latest reports from the IPCC clearly underscore the need for accelerated action in this decade.

We must and will continue to address the feasibility, effectiveness and assessment of impacts on States in relation to GHG measures proposed and adopted. It is essential that, in working together multilaterally, we do not deepen the divide between developed and developing nations.

The transition to a decarbonized maritime sector cuts across all aspects of shipping – from the supply and use of fuels, to safety matters, port operations and training of seafarers.

The trials on use of new technologies and zero-carbon maritime fuels will support a safe shift, and we must ensure a just and equitable transition that recognizes the need for skills and technology development in developing countries.

In this regard, IMO is pleased to support the Maritime Just Transition Task Force, which is looking at the maritime skills needed for a just green transition. This work is vital to the ongoing processes at IMO related to the future maritime workforce in a changing world.

We must and will, of course, continue our work to address pressing issues on our oceans' agenda.

This year, in November, we mark 50 years since the adoption in 1972 of the London Convention on the Dumping of Wastes at Sea, since updated by its 1996 Protocol.

IMO has gone on to develop further measures, including the adoption of special areas under MARPOL with even more stringent requirements for waste and emissions, or the IMO Strategy on Marine Litter, endeavoring to achieve zero plastic waste discharges to sea from ships by 2025.

Just as those before us worked to protect the seas, we must also continue to step up our work.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

This year's World Maritime theme is New Technologies for Greener Shipping. When it comes to supporting the ocean agenda, we will need to look at solutions which will support the maritime industry to become greener and more resilient.

I take this opportunity to invite potential partners and donors to get in touch - and we have opportunities for private entities too, through our global industry alliances on low carbon shipping, marine biosafety and – through our partnership with the UN Global Compact - the newly launched Global Industry Alliance on Marine Plastic Litter.  

Much has been achieved - but there is a lot of work to do to protect our oceans.

I look forward to continued work together with our stakeholders including UN partners, Member States and industry, including at the forthcoming June Ocean Conference.

I would like to acknowledge the great contribution and support of Norway to the work of IMO, - and I look forward to further strengthening our cooperation.

Thank you.