United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday (3 February) visited the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for ship safety, maritime security and prevention of pollution from ships.
Mr. Ban met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and IMO’s Senior Management Committee. He also addressed representatives of IMO Member States and IMO staff.
Secretary-General Ban highlighted the major role that IMO and the maritime sector had to play in translating landmark agreements such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on climate change into tangible improvements in people’s lives.
Secretary-General Ban commended the IMO for its contribution to the fight to combat climate change, including through the adoption of legally binding energy efficiency measures for ships.
Reflecting the IMO World Maritime Day theme for 2016, Mr. Ban said that shipping was “indispensable to world trade”. He highlighted IMO’s efforts to help develop maritime trade, improve port infrastructure and promote seafaring as a career.
Mr. Ban praised the shipping industry and rescue services for saving hundreds of thousands of lives, often at considerable cost and danger to themselves, particularly in the Mediterranean in what he referred to as the biggest crisis of forced displacement since the Second World War. A high-level UN meeting on 19 September, ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York, will aim to find solutions, including establishing safe and legal migration pathways and addressing the conflicts and other failures that force people to risk their lives in this way.