World Maritime Day Parallel Event, Cartagena, Colombia: "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community" (opening remarks)

World Maritime Day Parallel Event

Cartagena, Colombia, 16 September

"Empowering Women in the Maritime Community"

Opening remarks by Kitack Lim

Damas y Caballeros, muy buenos días,

Es un gran placer y un honor para mí estar aquí en Colombia para celebrar el Evento Paralelo del Día Marítimo Mundial de dos mil diecinueve. Mi más sincero agradecimiento al Gobierno de Colombia por organizar y ser sede de este evento. Muchas gracias.

Her Excellency Ms. Marta-Lucía Ramírez, Vice-President of Colombia,

His Excellency Mr. Ricardo Jose Lozano Picón, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia,

Ms. Luz Stella Jara, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia,

Admiral Evelio Ramírez Gáfaro, Commandant of the Colombian Navy,

Vice Admiral Juan Manuel Soltau Ospina, Director General of the Maritime Authority,

Vice Admiral Gabriel Pérez, Head of Naval Operations,

Vice Admiral Andrés Vásquez, Commandant of the Caribbean Naval Force,

Mr. Dumek Turbay Paz, Governor of the Bolívar Region,

Ms. Dilian Francisca Toro, Governor of the Valle del Cauca Region,

Mr. Pedrito Tomás Pereira, Mayor of Cartagena,

His Excellency the Honourable Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Minister for Transport of Ghana,

His Excellency Mr. Noriel Arauz Villarreal, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority,

His Excellency Mr. Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Transport of South Africa,

His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of Federal Transport Authority of the United Arab Emirates,

Dr. Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport of Singapore,

Mr. Mohammad Rastad, Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development and Managing Director of the Ports and Maritime Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran,

His Excellency Mr. Rolando Drago, President of the IMO Assembly,

Mr. Xiaojie Zhang, Chair of the IMO Council

ladies and gentlemen,

Each year, the Parallel Event provides an opportunity to take the World Maritime theme "on the road". It has become one of the real highlights of IMO's year. I am sure that this year's event will be every bit as successful and enjoyable as all its predecessors.

Our World Maritime theme for this year is "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community". Several factors underlie this; not only the important objective to promote gender equality for its own sake, but also the practical reality that shipping must draw talent from every corner of the globe and every sector of the population to secure its own sustainability.

Improving the participation of women in society leads to better social and economic outcomes. This is also true in the maritime community. So, it is critical that women are provided with equal access to opportunities at all levels and within all sectors of the maritime industry.

Experience shows that, when they are given those opportunities, women are strong and successful – continually challenging old-fashioned and outdated perceptions and proving that, today, the maritime industries are for everyone. It's not about your gender, it's about what you can do.

This is not a new topic for IMO. Indeed, IMO has been running a highly successful campaign to promote women in the maritime community for more than 30 years.

With IMO's help, seven regional Women in Maritime Associations have been established, covering more than 150 countries and dependent territories.

IMO provides gender-specific fellowships and scholarships, both at our own maritime education establishments – the International Maritime Law Institute and the World Maritime University – and at others, too. And, last year, as you know, WISTA International – the Women's International Shipping & Trading Association – was awarded consultative status with IMO.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As part of the United Nations family, helping our Member States deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals associated with it is one of IMO's key strategic directions.

Gender equality is one of these goals – SDG 5 – and, although we are highlighting it this year, I want to stress that our commitment to the SDGs is wide-ranging and comprehensive.

Of the other goals, SDG 14, dealing with the oceans, and SDG 13 on climate change, are central to IMO and its work. But aspects of our work can be linked to all the individual SDGs. Most of the elements of the 2030 Agenda will only be realized with a sustainable transport sector – including shipping and ports – supporting world trade and facilitating the global economy. 

Our continuing work to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and thereby combat climate change is a good example.

International shipping is estimated to emit around 800 million tonnes of CO2 - or approximately 2.2% of global emissions. That's a significant contribution and due to the expected increase in global seaborne trade will probably increase further without immediate action.

IMO is tackling this in two ways. We are creating and adopting regulations to require both new and existing ships to become more energy efficient. Through our initial strategy adopted last year, we now have commitment for a significant reduction of GHG emissions from ships, a specific linkage to the Paris Agreement, and clear levels of ambition – including at least a 50 per cent cut in emissions from the sector by 2050 and phasing them out altogether by the end of this century.

At the same time, we are supporting this regulatory effort with several practical initiatives and projects. These are designed to stimulate and support the development of new technologies and better operational practices, while also building capacity and expertise, especially in developing countries.

However, we must keep our sights on the future.

Global seaborne trade is constantly growing, with annual growth rates of around 3 to 4 per cent expected in the next years. Given these expectations, shipping must constantly adapt to new trends developments and challenges to achieve economic sustainability.

New technological developments such as digitalization, artificial intelligence, robotics, increasing automation, including issues like cyber security as well as the availability of renewable and alternative energy sources, will offer opportunities to improve environmental performance, the safety of ships as well as the efficiency and sustainability of shipping.

They can potentially reduce costs, facilitate interactions between different actors and raise the maritime supply chain to the next level.

I can assure you that IMO is playing its part in building digitalization and new technologies into the regulatory framework and actively supporting the maritime industry in the uptake of these technologies.

We are carrying out a scoping exercise into the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships, or "MASS", to look into the regulatory aspects of autonomous vessels, from safety, security, liability and compensation aspects.

In addition, the utilization of new technologies to facilitate trade and enhance the efficiency of maritime transport in working practices, be it in marine communication and ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore interfaces, including issues of cybersecurity are being regularly discussed at IMO.

The global shipping sector is essential for a sustainable future. But maritime activities themselves need to be sustainable - and an important part of IMO's role is to ensure that shipping continues to make its contribution to global trade and development in a sustainable way.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Throughout this year, IMO has been raising awareness of the important contribution that maritime women already make around the world every day, and actively promoting the future development and empowerment of women throughout the maritime sector.

The World Maritime Day Parallel Event is part of that outreach programme.

It provides a platform that brings together important actors and stakeholders in the maritime community to discuss issues affecting maritime women throughout the wider maritime community.

We are grateful to Colombia, which has been an active and supportive Member of IMO since it joined in 1974, for hosting this year's event. I have no doubt that the 2019 World Maritime Day Parallel Event will make great progress on this important challenge and prove to be a successful and enjoyable event for all.

Thank you.