Wednesday, August 15, 2018

World Maritime Day Themes Differ Whilst Retaining Importance for the Ocean Shipping Community

2018 Celebrates 70 Years of the IMO whilst Women are the Focus Next Year
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – With World Maritime Day 2018 not yet upon us, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has already announced the theme for next year's event. Firstly however the 2018 celebrations, which as usual will be centred on the IMO London Headquarters. With the operation celebrating its 70th anniversary this year the topic is unsurprisingly 'IMO 70: Our Heritage - Better Shipping for a Better Future'.

Already this year has seen several events marking the occasion including a ceremony in March to mark the actual date of the inception of the IMO and, in June, the annual ‘Day of the Seafarer’. World Maritime Day itself falls this year on September 27, and Secretary General Kitack Lim released a video to mark the event and explain the current IMO position whilst praising the progress made using the cooperation of its 173 member states.

With the big day still to come the IMO has been planning already for next year’s event and the theme of World Maritime Day 2019 will be ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’ a proposal from the Secretary General himself, and one welcomed by the IMO Council at its 120th session at IMO Headquarters in London. Mr Lim commented:

“IMO has a strong commitment to helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and continues to support the participation of women in both shore-based and seagoing posts, in line with the goals outlined under SDG 5: 'Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls'.

“This theme will give IMO the opportunity to work with various maritime stakeholders towards achieving the SDGs, particularly SDG 5, to foster an environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes and to encourage more conversation for gender equality in the maritime space.”

Female graduates of IMO’s global training institutes, the World Maritime University (WMU) and the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) are today working as maritime administrators and decision makers. Through this they have a positive impact as role models in encouraging new female recruits. The IMO also supports the empowerment of women through gender-specific fellowships, by facilitating access to high-level technical training for women in the maritime sector in developing countries.

The IMO has also supported the creation of seven regional associations for women in the maritime sector across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands. Access to these regional networks have provided members with a platform to discuss gender issues; a golden thread of worldwide maritime communication and improved implementation of IMO instruments.

In an industry notorious for gender inequality, the move by the most powerful single force in merchant shipping regulation will doubtless be met positively by many in the ocean and inland maritime community.