IMO Reaffirms Commitment to Sustainable Maritime Development at Rio+20


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting sustainable maritime development, during a side-event organized by IMO on 20 June at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Presenting his vision at the panel discussion on “Sustainable Maritime Development – Contribution of Maritime Transport to Green Growth and Inclusive Development”, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said that the promotion of sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development would be one of the major priorities of his tenure as IMO Secretary-General.

“Shipping is an essential component of any programme for sustainable development. The world relies on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry, and this is provided by the comprehensive regulatory framework developed and maintained by IMO,” Mr. Sekimizu said.

“Through its technical co-operation activities, IMO helps build capacity to enable developing countries to participate fully in maritime activities. This generates wealth, jobs and economic activity not only in the maritime sector but in other areas that rely on maritime trade for access to global markets,” Mr. Sekimizu said.

“The development and implementation, through IMO, of global standards covering maritime safety, environmental protection, maritime security and the facilitation of maritime traffic, will underpin green and sustainable shipping and confirm IMO’s ability to provide the appropriate institutional framework for sustainable maritime development,” he added.

Also participating in the side-event at Rio+20 were Professor BjörnKjerfve, President, World Maritime University (WMU), as moderator, and speakers:

  • Mr. David Tongue, Director, Regulatory Affairs, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
  • Mr. Antonio Fritz, Latin America Caribbean Regional Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
  • Vice Admiral Ilques Barbosa Junior, Director of Ports and Coasts, Brazilian Navy
  • Mr. Fer M.J. van de Laar, Managing Director, International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH)
  • Mr. Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary-General, BIMCO
  • Mr. Paul Sadler, Accredited Representative to IMO, International Association of Classification Societies (IACS)
  • Dr. Wendy  Watson-Wright, Assistant Director General, UNESCO, and Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
  • Dr. Andrew Hudson, Head, Water & Ocean Governance Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Coordinator, UN-Oceans
  • Dr. Paul Holthus, Executive Director, World Ocean Council (WOC).


During Rio+20, IMO has also participated in “The Oceans Day at Rio+20”, on 16 June, a high-level ocean event attended by more than 375 participants from 169 organizations and 46 countries. The co-chairs issued the “Rio Ocean Declaration”, which calls for strong and immediate action to meet the sustainable development goals for oceans, coasts, and small island developing States (SIDS), at Rio+20 and beyond.

Other side-events with IMO participation included Rio+Social, a global event gathering technology, social media and global leaders; the UNEP events on “Marine litter – preventing our oceans from becoming dumps”; and “Greening the Blue World: Green Economy Approach for Oceans, Coasts and SIDS”.


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