IMO Marks World Maritime Day With Call for Sustainable Development

Mike Schuler
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September 26, 2013

Today marks the 36th annual World Maritime Day, celebrating the theme “Sustainable Development: IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20”.

Rio+20, short for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, took place in Brazil in June 2012 and marked the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

The conference focused on two themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

In his World Maritime Day message, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said that maritime transport was central to sustainable development, as the world’s only really reliable, global, cost-effective and energy-efficient mass transportation method for energy, materials, foods and industrial products.

“The maritime transportation system itself must, therefore, ensure that its development is also sustainable,” Mr. Sekimizu said, adding that this blanket term included not just the operation of ships, but all the activities that are vital to support shipping, such as the operation of maritime traffic management systems and global communication systems, ports and multi-modal connections are all components of this multi-faceted sector.

“Shipbuilding and classification, ship registry and administration, ship finance, ship repairing, ship recycling, the education and training of seafarers, are all part of the system – as, indeed, are search and rescue services, maritime security agencies, coast guards and maritime law enforcement agencies and many others, too. They all have a part to play in defining and achieving a sustainable Maritime Transportation System,” Mr. Sekimizu said.

“Because the Maritime Transportation System is so essential to the continued development and future growth of the world economy, IMO will continue to take the lead in supporting it with the appropriate global standards and by helping to promote, through technical co-operation, the necessary national maritime transportation policies and institutional frameworks for a sustainable Maritime Transportation System,” Mr. Sekimizu said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also issued a message for World Maritime Day, in which he noted that this year’s World Maritime Day fell at an important time, as the United Nations was leading the final stretch of its global campaign to address human suffering through the Millennium Development Goals while shaping a vision for the post-2015 period.

“In this effort, we value maritime transport as a cost-effective and energy-efficient link in the global supply chain. Let us use this occasion to reaffirm our commitment to optimize the management of maritime transport to support sustainable development,” Mr. Ban said.

The 2013 World Maritime Day Parallel Event will be held in Lima, Peru, from October 2-3, 2013.

More about World Maritime Day and the Parallel Event can be found HERE.

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