Our World Maritime Day theme for this year is “Connecting Ships, Ports and People”. It enables us to shine a spotlight on the cooperation between ports and ships to maintain and enhance a safe, secure and efficient maritime transportation system – for the benefit of people everywhere. The benefits of a free and efficient flow of goods and trade extend far beyond the ships and ports themselves. An effective interface between them can improve the lives of people everywhere, especially in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IMO’s role as the global regulator of the shipping industry can enhance this integration – as consistent, uniform regulation facilitates the free flow of commerce. Last year, 2016, the theme was “Shipping: indispensable to the world”. It was chosen to focus on the critical link between shipping and the everyday lives of people all over the planet, and to raise awareness of the role of IMO as the global regulatory body for international shipping. “Connecting Ships, Ports and People” builds on the 2016 theme. It focuses on the importance of developing and implementing maritime strategies in a joined-up approach that addresses a wide range of issues, including the facilitation of maritime transport, increasing efficiency, navigational safety, protection of the marine environment, and maritime security. It encourages stakeholders to promote best practices and to build bridges between the many diverse actors involved in these areas.

The World Maritime Day themes for 2016 and 2017 are complementary and may be seen as a response to the United Nations’ post-2015 sustainable development agenda and, in particular, the SDGs. By promoting trade by sea, nurturing national shipping lines and promoting seafaring as a career; by improving port infrastructure and efficiency; by developing and strengthening inter-modal links and hinterland connections; by managing and protecting fisheries, exploring offshore energy production and even by fostering tourism – maritime activity can both drive and support a growing economy. Improved economic development, supported by sustainable maritime development and underpinned by good maritime security, will support the Post-2015 Development Agenda and complement United Nations initiatives by addressing some of the factors that lead to instability, insecurity and uncontrolled mixed migration. The 2017 theme was chosen to focus on the many diverse actors involved in the shipping and logistics areas. The maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people that operate them, can and should play a significant role helping to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability ashore through promoting trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land and, through developing a sustainable blue economy, at sea. A port sector able to streamline procedures and remove excessive barriers to trade, to embrace new technologies, to root out corruption and to treat safety, security and reputation as both desirable and marketable, will be a major driver towards stability and sustainable development. Ultimately, more efficient shipping, working in partnership with a port sector supported by governments, will be a major driver towards global stability and sustainable development for the good of all people. This year, with our theme of “Connecting Ships, Ports and People” we aim to make a strong contribution towards these objectives – and I hope that you will join us, with your own activities and initiatives under this World Maritime Day theme for 2017.

Source: IMO News


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