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Thursday, September 19, 2019 

IMO's World Maritime Day Parallel Event in Columbia focused on the theme, 'Empowering women in the maritime community', with panels highlighting the leadership role of women, contributing to the strengthening of the maritime sector and the boost of sustainable economies.

"Shipping must draw talent from every corner of the globe and every sector of the population to ensure its own sustainability," was the key message from IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, in his opening remarks in Santiago.

"Improving the participation of women in society leads to better social and economic outcomes. This is also true in the maritime community. So, it is critical that women are provided with equal access to opportunities at all levels and within all sectors of the maritime industry. Experience shows that, when they are given those opportunities, women are strong and successful – continually challenging old-fashioned and outdated perceptions and proving that, today, the maritime industries are for everyone. It's not about your gender, it's about what you can do,"said Lim.

He highlighted the challenges ahead - including the needs for action to combat climate change as presented in IMO's initial GHG strategy - as well as the opportunities for a sector which drives global trade and development.

A panel session focused on the real impact of the role of women in all areas of the maritime sector, as well as the efforts already made in different fields (industry, government, international organizations and academia). Maja Markovčić Kostelac, Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), shared her views on how women and technology contribute to the sustainability of the maritime sector.

Transport and maritime Ministers and senior officials from 11 countries took part in a roundtable discussion with Secretary‑General Lim. Discussions focused on two main themes; strategies to promote global  partnerships in order to ensure the long-term, sustainable delivery of the IMO's Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP); and exploring ways to strengthen regional cooperation on maritime issues, including empowerment of women. 

On day two, Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President, World Maritime University (WMU), highlighted the need to remove existing barriers to women's participation and empowerment. Xiaojie Zhang, chair of the IMO Council, highlighted the importance of developing partnerships with other UN bodies, stakeholders and the private sector to achieve together the 2030 Agenda.

The 2020 Parallel Event will be hosted by South Africa.

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