Toespraak van minister Harbers bij IMO General Assembly


Toespraak van minister Harbers (IenW) op 27 november 2023 bij de General Assembly van de IMO in Londen. De toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Verantwoordelijke Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat
Thema Scheepvaart
Documentsoort Toespraak
Publicatiedatum 27-11-2023
Documentdatum 27-11-2023
Onderwerp Scheepvaart en havens

President Lagdameo, Secretary-General Lim, Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

I'm honoured to represent the Kingdom of the Netherlands at this General Assembly. As 1 of the founding nations of IMO, the Netherlands feels a deep bond with this global maritime community.

I’m happy that we can meet face-to-face again in London, after the last online Assembly 2 years ago. A lot has happened since then. We see that shipping has made a strong recovery after COVID.

This is important because shipping is a crucial driver of the global economy. 90% of world trade goes by sea. We also see a growing urgency to make our shipping more sustainable, while safety continues to drive our cooperation. The Netherlands believes that these are global issues that need to be addressed primarily at IMO level.

An iconic example of this cooperation was the adoption of the revised IMO Strategy on the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships in July this year. It was a turning point in the history of international shipping, opening the door to a sustainable future.  

The Netherlands has always been in favour of a net zero emission ambition, to ensure that maritime shipping makes a significant contribution to the Paris Agreement goals. Let’s do this in such a way that all countries can join in, large or small. Part of our Kingdom is located in the Caribbean, so it’s no surprise that the Netherlands has a close connection with Small Island Developing States. For them, shipping is nothing less than a lifeline.

We stand for a just and equitable transition that leaves no one behind. That’s why the Netherlands has also donated to the Voluntary Multi Donor Trust Fund to help Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries take part in IMO meetings on climate policy.

Shipping is entering a new, sustainable era, but safety remains our guiding principle. New technologies and fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia bring new challenges. Since shipping has relied almost exclusively on oil for more than a century, the introduction of these new fuels and the reintroduction of wind propulsion takes us into uncharted waters. This places a great responsibility on the shoulders of IMO and its member states to develop appropriate legislation to ensure safe shipping in the decades to come.

Cooperation is also needed to make a fist against organised crime that undermines society. It’s a fact that our ports and international connections are being misused for drug smuggling.

The Dutch government has stepped up its approach to this problem. And we’re working together with other countries, like our neighbour Belgium. We call upon other member states: join us in these efforts.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Well-qualified staff is a basic requirement for all of this. The world’s merchant fleet employs nearly 2 million seafarers. They are the engine that keeps world trade running.

So they deserve proper attention, like a warm welcome at ports. And sufficient training opportunities to advance their careers. The revision of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers will help achieve this.

Mr. President. Following up to the statement just made by my distinguished colleague from Ukraine, I would like to express my warm support for the government and the people of Ukraine, that suffers so tremendously as a result of the unprovoked aggression by the Russian Federation. We support efforts to re-establish a safe maritime corridor through the Black Sea. And we would like to call upon all IMO member states to join the newly established Register of Damage for Ukraine, hosted in The Hague, following the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution.

Mr. President, your excellencies,

New major challenges lie ahead for us all. Challenges that we need to tackle together. The Kingdom of the Netherlands would like to be your partner in these endeavours and is pleased to stand as a candidate for re-election to the Council in category B.

Thank you.