This year's theme is of special importance as COVID-19 restrictions on travel and transit have led to 800,000 seafarers either stranded on vessels or prevented from returning to ships.

However, this global crisis has demonstrated the importance of shipping as the most reliable, efficient and cost-effective method of transporting goods internationally, said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in his World Maritime Day message.

Therefore, shipping and maritime will be at the heart of the economic recovery and future sustainable growth far into the future, both at sea and ashore, supporting an inclusive and resilient economy to underpin the achievement of the sustainable development goals. 'Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet', our theme for 2020 couldn't be more relevant now and for years to come,

...he said.

In the post-COVID world, much focus will be directed at the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, Secretary-General Lim added.

The role of sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet will be highlighted during an IMO-hosted online event on 24 September.

At a separate event held on the margins of the UN General Assembly on World Maritime Day, Mr. Lim will highlight the important role of shipping and put a spotlight on the humanitarian crisis faced by seafarers who are stranded at sea due to travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, in his message issued on World Maritime Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said:

The theme of this year's World Maritime Day – 'Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet' – has gained extraordinary resonance as shipping has continued to transport more than 80% of world trade, including vital medical supplies, food and other basic goods that are critical for the COVID-19 response and recovery.

Mr. Guterres reiterates his concern for seafarers stranded at sea and renews his appeal to Governments "to address their plight by formally designating seafarers and other marine personnel as "key workers", ensuring safe crew changes and implementing the protocols developed by UN agencies, as well as the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers' Federation, allowing stranded seafarers to be repatriated and others to join ships."

An online event on the morning of World Maritime Day, hosted by IMO, (10:30 a.m. London time) will bring together a high-level panel of speakers to debate "Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet".

A separate event (2.30 p.m. London time) will be hosted by the UN Global Compact (UNGC), IMO and ILO, in collaboration with the ICS and the ITF. They are bringing together the heads of UN agencies, governments, multinational corporations, and shipowner and seafarer representatives, to discuss the humanitarian, economic and safety crisis in the world's shipping industry. This event aims to raise awareness of the important and unsung role of seafarers in supporting sustainable shipping.

For 2021, the world maritime theme is "Seafarers: at the core of shipping's future", reflecting a clear need to raise awareness of seafarersʹ vital role in world trade and increase their visibility.

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