03 February 2016

Remarks during visit to the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Ban Ki-moon

Your Excellency Dr. Federico Trillo-Figueroa, Ambassador of Spain to the United Kingdom and President of the IMO Assembly, Secretary-General Kitack Lim of IMO, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to visit IMO once again.

Let me first congratulate Mr. Kitack Lim on his assumption as Secretary-General of IMO in January this year.

Now there are two Korean Secretaries-General in the UN system!

He is very well suited to lead the IMO. While I am a boy from a farming village, he is from one of the major ports of Korea, Busan City, the second largest city in Korea – and he has long experience in the field. With Secretary-General Lim at the helm, the IMO ship is in good hands and on course for important achievements.

I am glad to have this opportunity to visit so soon after he has assumed his role as IMO Secretary-General and, most importantly, soon after the two landmark achievements of 2015: the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on change.

These are victories for the world’s people, and triumphs for multilateralism.

At a time when the world faces so many crises and conflicts, it was very encouraging that world leaders managed to come together with a strong sense of shared purpose to reach bold and inspiring agreement on some of the most important challenges facing humankind.

Now, in early months of 2016, we aim to get off to a good start in translating these agreements into tangible improvements in the lives of the people we serve.

I sense a lot of enthusiasm on the part of Governments and our partners. Some Governments have begun to develop national plans for the Sustainable Development Goals. Last week, I met with major investors who are ready to increase their focus on renewable energy and other climate solutions. This week at the United Nations in New York, more young people than ever before are taking part in the annual ECOSOC Youth Forum – a sign of our expanding engagement with global youth. Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, we launched an initiative on women’s economic empowerment and announced a slate of “SDG Advocates” who will campaign far and wide for action.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We need to take advantage of this good momentum and the good ideas that so many partners are bringing to the table.

The maritime sector, and the IMO, have a major role to play.

Three Sustainable Development Goals have particular relevance for IMO: Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable energy for all; Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization; and Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and maritime resources for sustainable development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Every country relies, to some degree, on selling what it produces and acquiring what it lacks.

Shipping connects buyers and sellers across the world.

It transports the commodities, fuel, food, goods and products on which we all depend.

Shipping is indispensable.

But all countries must be able to play a full and active part. I therefore attach great importance to the IMO’s efforts to develop maritime trade and improve port infrastructure. I know you are also doing a lot to promote seafaring as a career.

The IMO has also made important contributions as the world struggles to address the biggest crisis of forced displacement since the Second World War.

Many people are undertaking perilous journeys in unseaworthy boats. Many fall victim to smugglers. I commend the shipping industry and rescue services for saving hundreds of thousands of lives, often at considerable cost and danger to themselves.

This is a global challenge requiring a global sharing of responsibilities. That is why, on September 19th of this year, I will convene a high-level meeting aimed at finding solutions, including by establishing safe and legal migration pathways and by addressing the conflicts and other failures that force people to risk their lives in this way.

I also commend the IMO for its efforts to combat climate change, including through legally binding energy efficiency measures for ships, enhancing at least 30% of energy efficiency by 2025.

As we pursue the SDGs and undertake climate action, one main challenge will be for Governments to work better together across their ministries and departments – and for the UN system itself to do the same. I have been telling all UN agencies and departments that we need to break down walls. We need to weave together the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, and other major streams of work, including on reducing disaster risk, women’s empowerment, financing for development, and humanitarian action in response to crises.

Secretary-General Kitack Lim, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

Thank you again for your efforts at this crucial moment for the future of humankind. We face many crises, but we also have unprecedented opportunities to end poverty, achieve shared prosperity while protecting the planet.

IMO is an important part of the UN family, showing the UN flag here in London. I wish you continued success under the leadership and guidance of your new Secretary-General.

Thank you.