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IMO harps on sustainable transport

Port of Freeport Bahamas Container shipyard with heavy lifting Cranes and a ship coming in to dock assisted by tug boats

International Maritime Organisation (IMO), has insisted that most elements of the United Nations’ (UN) the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will only be realized with a sustainable transport sector supporting world trade and facilitating global economy.  

Recall that in 2015, 193 countries adopted the 2030 Agenda, which calls for action by all to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 world-wide, as the SDGs are seen as an opportunity to transform the world for the better and leave no one behind.

In this regard, IMO says it is actively working towards the 2030 Agenda and the associated SDGs, and gone ahead to set up a Technical Cooperation Committee to work on the approved linkages.

Specifically, the UN body notes that while SDG 14 is central to IMO, aspects of its work can be linked to all individual SDGs.

“The Sustainable Development Goals provide a blueprint for the transition to a healthier planet and a more just world — for present and future generations. With concrete targets, the Goals aim to end poverty and hunger, expand access to health, education, justice and jobs, promote inclusive and sustained economic growth, while protecting our planet from environmental degradation,” IMO said on its official website.

To this end, the decade 2020-2030 has been set aside for action and delivery on these goals, while the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has asked for all world leaders to focus on the SDGs.

Accordingly, the IMO Secretariat’s SDG Strategy and the 2020 World Maritime was themed “Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet” to support Member States’ implementation of the 2030 Agenda and make 2020-2030 a decade of action around the 17 SDGs.

For instance, in the area of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere, IMO notes that, “As the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient way to carry goods, shipping forms the backbone of world trade. It provides a dependable, low-cost means of transport, facilitating commerce and helping create prosperity among nations and peoples. By providing improved access to basic materials, goods and products, shipping is expected to help lift millions of people out of poverty.”

It added, “Shipping is an essential component of any programme for future sustainable economic growth. Through IMO, the Organization’s Member States, civil society and the shipping industry are working together to ensure a continued and strengthened contribution towards a green economy and sustainable growth.”

To end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, IMO is working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. “IUU Fishing is a serious issue for the global fishing sector that impacts negatively on safety, on environmental issues, on conservation and on sustainability. In addition to harming fish populations, IUU fishing creates unfair market competition for – and threatens the livelihoods of – fishers who follow sustainable practices.”

Besides, international shipping plays an essential role in the import and export of food all around the world, ensuring that growers, producers and consumers all have access to one another. IMO measures ensure that shipping is safe, secure and environment friendly.

Similarly, with more than a billion people living in coastal areas and this number is set to increase sharply in the coming years, IMO’s conventions and other instruments not only contribute to the reduction of shipping-related pollution in the wider oceans, but also in ports and coastal regions.

For example, atmospheric emissions from ships are strictly regulated globally; and, in addition, IMO has designated a number of Emission Control Areas in which more stringent rules apply.

Furthermore, 1 January 2020 has been set as the implementation date for a significant reduction in the sulphur content of fuel oil used by ships. This is expected to have a major beneficial impact on the environment and on human health, particularly of those living in port cities and coastal communities, beyond the existing Emission Control Areas.

Beyond the safety and security of life at sea, the IMO believes that the protection of the marine environment and the efficient movement of global trade depend on the professionalism and competence of seafarers. To this end, the IMO’s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) sets global standards of competence for seafarers and effective mechanisms for enforcing its provisions.

“IMO also contributes to inclusive and high-quality education by providing training activities, in particular through its technical cooperation programmes and its global maritime training institutions – the World Maritime University (WMU) and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI),” it said. 

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