“Sustainable Development” Chosen as Theme for World Maritime Day 2013

The International Maritime Organization today said that it has selected “Sustainable Development:  IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20” as the theme for World Maritime Day 2013.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, is to be held in Rio de Janeiro from June 20-22 and is expected to be the largest event in the history of the United Nations.  The event looks to bring together governments, international institutions and major groups in order to achieve renewed political commitment on sustainable developement and “define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.”

The theme was endorsed by IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu during the IMO Council’s 108th session held at its London headquarters.

“Twenty years ago, the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio adopted the so-called ‘Agenda 21′, which included a set of recommendations related to shipping and the role of IMO,” said Mr. Sekimizu. “IMO’s response to Agenda 21 has, over the years, been both multifaceted and robust.”

Mr Sekimizu added: “The two main themes of Rio+20 are the creation of a ‘green economy’ and a new institutional framework for sustainable development. Key elements of sustainable shipping include energy efficiency, new technology and innovation, maritime education and training, maritime security, maritime traffic management and the development of maritime infrastructure in both developed and developing countries. But these must be underpinned by global standards – the standards developed and maintained by IMO with a view to ensuring safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound international shipping, on which the sustainable development and growth of the global economy depends.”

Past World Maritime Day themes have included climate change, year of the seafarer, piracy, and one hundred years after the Titanic.