Climate change and prosperity goals challenge sounded for maritime industry

29 October 2019

'All hands on deck' are needed to beat climate change and achieve international goals on peace and prosperity, former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has told the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The Paris Climate Change Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the two 'defining challenges of our time', Mr Ban told a gathering of representatives of IMO member states, NGOs and IMO staff at IMO Headquarters in London on 28 October 2019.

The SDGs are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

Mr Ban highlighted the IMO's commitment to supporting the ocean goal SDG 14 - including its work to address marine plastic litter. Shipping itself is vital to world trade and development – and the achievement of many SDGS. With 11 years to go to fulfil the goals set out in all 17 SDGS, 'we need an all hands on deck approach where everyone joins together in multi stakeholder partnership,' added Mr Ban.

'Considering the great importance of the shipping industry for our economies and the environment, IMO truly represents the vanguard of global efforts to build a more prosperous and sustainable global future.'

Mr Ban also warned against rising unilateralism. 'In times of increasing discord, I believe that achieving the UN SDGs and meeting the Paris Climate Change Agreement are two efforts that should unite all nations, all industry and all civil society,' he said.

Mr Ban lauded IMO's work on climate change, including the adoption of the initial IMO GHG strategy, as well as the Organization's work, including capacity building, to promote a safer, more secure and more environment-friendly shipping industry, and focus on empowering women in maritime.

'Taking stock of the current realities of global development and climate change, I believe IMO and shipping industry are well positioned to help navigate us toward safer harbours,' said Mr. Ban.