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World Maritime Day Focuses On Sustainable Shipping

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

01 October 2013

World Maritime Day, marked on September 26, 2013, focused on the International Maritime Organization's intended response to the issues raised during the United Nations' Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

In his World Maritime Day message, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu highlighted that maritime transport is central to sustainable development, as the world's only really reliable, global, cost-effective and energy-efficient mass transportation method for energy, materials, foods and industrial products.

"The maritime transportation system itself must, therefore, ensure that its development is also sustainable," Sekimizu said, adding that this blanket term included not just the operation of ships, but all the activities that are vital to support shipping, such as the operation of maritime traffic management systems and global communication systems, ports and multi-modal connections.

"Shipbuilding and classification, ship registry and administration, ship finance, ship repairing, ship recycling, the education and training of seafarers, are all part of the system – as, indeed, are search and rescue services, maritime security agencies, coast guards and maritime law enforcement agencies and many others, too. They all have a part to play in defining and achieving a sustainable Maritime Transportation System," Sekimizu continued.

"Because the Maritime Transportation System is so essential to the continued development and future growth of the world economy, IMO will continue to take the lead in supporting it with the appropriate global standards and by helping to promote, through technical co-operation, the necessary national maritime transportation policies and institutional frameworks for a sustainable Maritime Transportation System."

The concept of sustainable development gained significant ground at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. Intensive negotiations focused on the development of a blueprint, outlined in the document "The Future We Want," which calls for a wide range of actions and also commits Governments to working towards a transition to a "green economy." It was agreed this should evolve around three, equally important, dimensions of sustainable development, i.e. the economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Most importantly, at Rio+20, Governments agreed that the UN General Assembly should launch a process to establish a set of specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), together with a strategy to finance their implementation.

TAGS: marine

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