During his keynote address, Mr. Lim spoke about the Sustainable Development Goals, stating that they are a 'unifying factor breathing life into global efforts to improve the lives of people everywhere.' Specifically, regarding SDG 14, IMO's Sec-Gen mentioned that it deals with the oceans, and is central to IMO.
Aspects of the Organization's work can be linked to all the individual SDGs, and I believe the Organization is making good progress in working towards these goals
Furthermore, he continued by saying that the blue economy must be sustainable. It must not come at the expense of the ocean and marine ecosystems, but he emphasized that it has been widely documented that the global marine environment and its resources are being over-exploited at an increasing rate and scale. For this reason, growth in this sector must be balanced and sustainable.
He also confirmed IMO’s strong commitment to the 2030 Sustainability Agenda and reminded delegates that IMO's environment regulations were driving many of the technology innovations being showcased at the Nor-Shipping exhibition.
Namely, new technological developments such as digitalization, artificial intelligence, robotics, increasing automation, including issues like cyber security as well as the availability of renewable and alternative energy sources, along with improved hull design and operational procedures can enhance environmental performance and safety of ships and cut operating costs at the same time.
Under this aspect, IMO is conducting a scoping exercise into the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships, or 'MASS', to analyzwe the regulatory aspects of autonomous vessels, from safety, security, liability and compensation aspects. In addition, the utilization of new technologies to make trade easier and enhance the efficiency of maritime transport in working practices, be it in marine communication and ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore interfaces, including issues of cybersecurity are being regularly discussed at IMO.
Moreover, he highlighted moves to limit GHG gas emissions, reduce the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil, requiring stringent ballast water management and adopting the Polar Code as outstanding recent examples of IMO's own sustainability agenda. He stated that all these efforts reinforce IMO’s commitment to ensure a sustainable development.
Events such as this, remind us that the world is no longer prepared to accept services or industries that are simply cost-effective. We now demand them to be green, clean and energy-efficient and safe. Through IMO, governments ensure that shipping is responding to that challenge
Kitack Lim also reinstated his strong personal support for the themes of this year's World Maritime Day and Day of the Seafarer, both of which deal with gender equality in the maritime community.
He specifically noted that in order for shipping to be sustainable, it must draw talent from every corner of the world and ensure a diverse and sustainable industry. Therefore, while IMO is highlighting gender equality this year, it is a continuing effort toward attainment of SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 8, decent work for all.
I hope you will join IMO’s efforts to bring attention to this important initiative
IMO Secretary-General urged.