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UN chief stresses need for sustainability during IMO visit

UN chief stresses need for sustainability during IMO visit
United Nations (UN) secretary-general Ban Ki-moon underlined the important role that shipping has to play in ensuring sustainability of world trade during a visit to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) yesterday.

Speaking at a specially convened IMO assembly, Ban began by congratulating fellow countryman Lim Ki-tack on having assumed the top role at the IMO last month, quipping that there were now two Korean secretary-generals within the UN organization.

But this was not the reason for his visit, he explained, rather it was to emphasise two recent landmark agreements reached by the international community - the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Both these agreements were “important commitments and visions,” representing “a triumph for multilateralism… at a crucial moment for the future of humankind,” he said, and the maritime sector and IMO had a “major role” to play in their implementation.

The goals outlined in the agreements need to be followed in their totality rather than individually in isolation, he added, while greater empowerment of young people and women on a global basis was also needed for the future good.

Ban paid tribute to the work already carried out by the IMO in having framed the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for newbuildings, which he said would help achieve to a 30% reduction in emissions by 2025.

He also praised the shipping industry for its humanitarian work in assisting migrants and refugees “undertaking perilous journeys in unseaworthy boats,” especially in the Mediterranean.

Referring to the current tally of 60m displaced persons as the largest since the end of World War II, the secretary-general went on to announce that he would be convening a high-level UN meeting on the subject on 19 September. The summit would 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,” he said.