World Maritime Day Parallel Event, Istanbul, Turkey - "Shipping: indispensable to the world" (closing remarks)

World Maritime Day Parallel Event
Istanbul, Turkey, 4-6 November 2016
"Shipping: indispensable to the world"
Closing remarks by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General
International Maritime Organization
Closing ceremony
5 November 2016 (17:00-18:30)

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of all IMO Members and, indeed, the maritime community as a whole, I should like to renew our thanks and appreciation to the Government of Turkey for inviting IMO to bring this year's World Maritime Day Parallel Event to a country with such deep and strong roots and centuries-long tradition in shipping.

As we reach the end of this conference, I hope you will agree that this has been a fascinating and insightful event.

Yesterday, we heard some interesting presentations on the maritime heritage of Turkey and the role that maritime culture plays in a wider context.

I am a great believer in the ability of maritime heritage to engage new audiences, and in particular younger people, and I am sure that the long and rich maritime history of Turkey can be put to good use in enthusing a new generation of recruits to the maritime profession in this country.

This led seamlessly into a broad exploration of how the oceans and their resources are so important in sustaining and supporting global population growth; and why it is so important that we protect and preserve them.

I was particularly interested, too, to hear confirmation of the wide range of sea-related employment opportunities that are available. And, again, this led seamlessly into the consideration of the role of the media in helping people realize the importance of international shipping. Greater general awareness of the maritime world, and what a crucial part it plays in all our lives, can only help to promote interest among young people in taking up those maritime career opportunities.

Today, several distinguished speakers and panellists have told us about some of the risks and challenges faced by shipping today, from both the financial and the operational perspective.

All of this serves to reinforce the central message of our World Maritime Day activities for this year, and the overall theme of this Parallel Event: namely that shipping is, indeed, indispensable to the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, IMO's mission, as a specialized agency of the United Nations, is to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping. And, because shipping and related maritime activities are essential components of future sustainable growth for the earth's 7 billion-plus inhabitants; and because they are key enabling factors in almost all of the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals, we do have a keen interest in helping ensure that shipping can achieve its own sustainability.

Shipping is indispensable to the world – and I think this Parallel Event has been a huge success in providing a platform for that message to be reinforced among those close to the shipping, and to reach a wider audience, too.

And so, as we approach the end of a really thought-provoking and productive series of debates and presentations, it remains only for me to thank, once again, the Government of Turkey for organizing this event, and for the smooth and efficient way it has been run.

And so, to conclude: we have now established something of a tradition in which the host country of one year's Parallel Event hand over the ceremonial flag to the hosts of the next. So I am now going to ask this year's hosts, Turkey, to formally hand over the World Maritime Day Parallel Event flag to next year's, Panama; and, at the same time, I should like to present a commemorative plaque in thanks and recognition of the wonderful job Turkey has made of hosting this year's event.

Thank you.