Minister Berner, International Maritime Organization IMO, 24 November 2015

Minister Berner, International Maritime Organization IMO, 24 November 2015

Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications
International Maritime Organization IMO, 29th Regular Session of the Assembly, London on 24 November 2015

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Ministers, and
Distinguished delegates,

As the Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland, it is my great pleasure to attend this IMO Assembly meeting here in London.

Finland gives its strong support for the work of IMO to promote safe, secure and sustainable shipping. Shipping is a truly global transport mode and therefore it needs global rules adopted by IMO.

Mr. President,

There are three issues which I would like to address today:

Firstly, our strong commitment in Paris in December is to reach a global agreement on how to tackle climate change, the biggest challenge of our time, and the reality for future generations.

Shipping needs to be a part of the solution. The rules for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping should be agreed here in IMO in line with the overall target of staying below 2 degrees increase of the global temperature.

New ships built after 2025 will be 30 % more energy efficient than today, which is based on the decision by IMO taken already back in 2011.

Bearing in mind the long life cycle of a ship, we need also to look into the present fleet. There are already very encouraging experiences of using tools provided by digitalization, by collecting and analyzing data and on that basis creating tools for optimizing ship's performance. This software can fairly easily be installed also on existing ships. Furthermore, digitalization can help increase the efficiency of the whole logistic chain.

An important part of our work is to ensure that enabling environments are created for energy efficient technologies and practices to be absorbed worldwide. Building global partnerships, both public and private, engaging in capacity building, to name a few areas. IMO has taken very valuable steps in this field and Finland will continue to give its support to those activities.

Secondly, I would like to draw your attention to the importance of Arctic areas.

Mr. President,

The Arctic region and sea routes - North East passage and the North West passage - are continuously creating hopes for new opportunities for transporting goods between continents and for commercial activity in the area itself. At the same time, there are serious concerns about the adequate level of environmental protection in this sensitive area.

IMO has done crucially important work to promote safe and sustainable shipping in the Arctic by adopting the Polar Code in 2014. Now we need to focus on effective implementation of the Code to ensure that business opportunities in Arctic areas can be realized in a sustainable way.

We need to look also at the development and use of Arctic know-how. Here, a key element is to facilitate the international public-private cooperation and exchange of knowledge and expertise.

Finland will hold the presidency of the Arctic Council from 2017 to 2019 and one of the core themes will be the promotion of safe and sustainable shipping in the Arctic.

Mr. President,

As my third point, I would like to address the issue of "smart regulation", which is one of the key priorities of the Finnish government. Our aim is to boost growth and jobs as well as to facilitate business operations and citizens' everyday life by de- and re-regulation and by reducing administrative burden, while taking into account environmental and safety issues.

Ideal legislation supports innovations and is technology neutral. ¬Flexibility to swiftly adapt to technological development is also crucial. This applies for example to the development, uptake and use of alternative fuels in shipping.

I've been very pleased to note that the IMO council has also started to discuss the possibilities to reduce administrative burden originating from the IMO rules. The work on Goal Based Standards is highly welcomed in this respect, as they represent the shift to risk- and performance- based legislation.

The full utilization of data and new technologies such as automation offers huge potential for safety and environmental protection. To enable this, we need to have a holistic look at the existing legislation and streamline it to fit the digital age.

Mr. President,

Last, but not least I would like to express my deepest gratitude and my most sincere appreciation to Secretary-General Mr. Koji Sekimizu for his excellent and tireless work for the benefit of IMO and the whole maritime community.

I would also like to warm-heartedly congratulate the incoming Secretary-General Mr. Ki-tack Lim and express my strong support for his endeavors to promote quality shipping in the global maritime community.