Beijing Summit (Belt and Road Forum)
Address during the Parallel Meeting, 14 May 2017
Relevance of IMO's role to the "One Belt One Road" vision
By Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General
Ladies and gentlemen,
In 2015, 193 countries, including China, adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This Agenda calls for action by all countries to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 worldwide – and the SDGs are seen as an opportunity to transform the world for the better and leave no-one behind.
The SDGs specifically recognize the importance of building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation.
China's ambitious initiative to develop infrastructure for transport and trade – including maritime infrastructure – can be seen in this context.
Investments in infrastructure, including transport infrastructure, are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities. For example, it has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education require investment in infrastructure.
As the only really cost-effective way to transport the vast majority of international trade, shipping will be vital to global sustainable development and growth in the future.
Shipping today carries more than 80 per cent of global trade to peoples and communities all over the world. It provides a dependable, low-cost means of transporting goods globally, facilitating commerce and helping to create prosperity among nations and peoples.
A safe, secure, clean and efficient international shipping industry is indispensable to the modern world – and this is provided by the measures and standards developed and maintained by IMO.
The letter of Intent that will shortly be signed between the Ministry of Transport of China and IMO confirms China’s strong commitment the effective and uniform implementation of international instruments developed by IMO, and emphasizes the importance of cooperation in building maritime capacity among developing countries. This gives me great encouragement and I look forward to IMO and China continuing their voyage together in this new and dynamic direction.
Port and maritime infrastructure can help create wealth both on land and at sea. To highlight this potential, IMO's theme for this year is "Connecting Ships, Ports and People". Like this initiative from China, it brings together many diverse stakeholders in the business of shipping and logistics.
It will enable us to shine a spotlight on the interface between ports and ships to maintain and enhance a safe, secure and efficient maritime transportation system – recognizing that modern ports and efficient shipping play a key role to preserve and attract industries and logistics.
It will also focus on the importance of developing and implementing 'joined-up' maritime strategies, both from a policy and a practical perspective.
The benefits of a free and efficient flow of goods and trade extend far beyond the ships and ports themselves. As both IMO's theme and this initiative remind us, investment in effective transport infrastructure can improve the lives of people everywhere.