Interactive Particularly Sensitive Sea Area display launched at IMO HQ and online

Interactive Particularly Sensitive Sea Area display launched at IMO HQ and online
Opening of PSSA display
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Opening address by Koji Sekimizu
Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization

Ambassador, Excellencies, delegates attending MEPC, Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome you here to this brief ceremony to unveil an exciting new display area at IMO.
Although IMO is perhaps best known for its global leadership in developing and adopting technical standards for international shipping, the Organization’s work to help protect the environment is equally important, and equally worthy of recognition.
As you will have just seen from the short video, the identification and designation of PSSAs is a central component of the Organization’s work on marine environment protection.
All sea areas should be cared about; and IMO measures ensure they are all protected. But IMO also provides the mechanism by which those particularly sensitive sea areas that are in need of special protection can be formally recognized, and the special measures needed to give them that protection can be agreed and adopted.
Although the PSSA programme is not new, I think that raising the profile of IMO’s work on PSSA is a contribution to this year’s IMO theme, which brings sustainable development into the spotlight. The twin goals of enabling shipping to continue to operate while ensuring the environment is properly protected are at the very heart of sustainable development in the maritime world.
It was with all this in mind that I wanted to find a way to give due acknowledgement to this aspect of IMO’s work, in a way that would be lasting and permanent, and which visitors to IMO would find both engaging and informative. I wanted something new, which would reflect the fact that IMO has worked and continues working to protect the marine environment.
The new PSSA display area on the second floor makes use of the very latest technology to provide an interactive, information-rich experience that really brings home the message about how important and valuable this part of IMO’s work is. Touch-screens and audio-visual capabilities give access to a host of videos, pictures, maps, graphic displays and so on, telling the unique story of each of the fourteen PSSAs that have so far been designated, together with a special insight on IMO’s work in this area, past, present and future.
As you can imagine, a huge amount of effort has gone into creating this display site. I should like to thank my colleagues in the Secretariat for all they have done to turn my concept into reality; and, of course, all those who have supported the installation whether financially, in-kind or with the provision of information.  In particular, I thank once again the Governments of Australia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea and Sweden for their financial contributions.
We are also very privileged to have a number of distinguished guests with us this evening, and I should also like to extend my sincere thanks to them for taking time from their busy schedules to be with us this evening. Indeed you will be hearing from Mr. Paul Nelson, Manager Marine Environment Standards, AMSA, and Dr. Luis Valdés, Head Ocean Science, UNESCO-IOC, very shortly.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great hope that this ground-breaking display that we are going to formally inaugurate this evening will serve as a continual reminder and a celebration of the substantial contribution that has been made to environmental protection through IMO’s PSSA scheme. But, more than that, I hope that it will galvanise further efforts to identify, and protect, more of these special areas throughout the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you.