Maritime transport is the backbone of world trade and globalization. Twenty-four hours a day and all year round, ships carry cargoes to all corners of the globe. This role will continue to grow with the anticipated increase in world trade in the years to come as millions of people are expected to be lifted out of poverty through improved access to basic materials, goods and products.

The world relies on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry and this can only be achieved under the comprehensive regulatory framework developed and maintained by IMO. The regulatory regime developed by IMO provides a blueprint for countries to develop their maritime transport infrastructure in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, known as Rio+20, resulted in the outcome document, entitled “The Future We Want”. The document calls for a wide range of actions and also commits Governments to working towards a transition to a “green economy”, evolving around the three, equally important, dimensions of sustainable development – i.e. the economic, social and environmental dimensions.

IMO has developed a concept of a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System, which includes a set of goals and actions, to highlight the importance of maritime transportation by focusing on:

  1. Safety culture and environment stewardship;
  2. Education and training in maritime professions, and support for seafarers;
  3. Energy efficiency and ship-port interface;
  4. Energy supply for ships;
  5. Maritime traffic support and advisory systems;
  6. Maritime Security;
  7. Technical co-operation;
  8. New technology and innovation;
  9. Finance, liability and insurance mechanisms; and
  10. Ocean Governance.