World Maritime Day 2020

The 2020 World Maritime Day theme, "Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet," provides the opportunity to raise awareness of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and showcase the work that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and its member States are undertaking to achieve the targets. This year’s official World Maritime Day celebration took place on 24 September with an online event hosted by IMO. 

In the wake of COVID-19, the 2020 theme is a striking reminder of the professionalism and sacrifice of the world’s two million merchant fleet seafarers who continue to transport more than 80% of world trade amidst the pandemic. This includes vital medical supplies as well as food and goods that are crucial in the response to COVID-19. Yet a humanitarian crisis has evolved with hundreds of thousands of seafarers still stranded at sea due to pandemic-related travel restrictions that many countries have implemented in efforts to contain the spread of the virus. 

In her World Maritime Day video message, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of the World Maritime University (WMU), remarked that the 2020 theme is a wake up call regarding the undeniable importance of shipping to the global economy. She maintained that now is the time to emphasize that role and ensure that we do have a sustainable planet for a sustainable future, which in turn calls for a sustainable shipping industry. Further, she highlighted the important role WMU plays in maritime education and training and capacity building that contributes to ensuring qualified seafarers and maritime leaders of tomorrow. 

President Doumbia-Henry said, “Our Vision is to inspire leadership and innovation for a sustainable maritime and oceans future. We at WMU have pledged to contribute to the realization of the UNSDG goals targets to which we have committed, including Goal 4 Education, Goal 5 Gender, Goal 13 Climate and Goal 14 the oceans! We must all take collective responsibility to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations. Let us build on the lessons learnt and move forward together.”

To view President Doumbia-Henry’s full World Maritime Day 2020 video message, click here.

About World Maritime Day

World Maritime Day was first held in 1978 to mark the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the IMO Convention that established the Organization. Since then, World Maritime Day celebrations have been held throughout the world to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO's work. Since 2005, in addition to the official IMO celebrations held at IMO Headquarters in London, there has been a Parallel Event hosted by a member State. 

To view the 2020 World Maritime Day video featuring IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Kitack Lim, who serves as Chancellor of WMU and is a WMU alumnus, click here.

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