IMO's mission, as a specialized agency of the United Nations, is to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping. Shipping and related maritime activities are, and will continue to be, essential to sustainable growth.

And for 70 years, IMO has been driving improvements in shipping to achieve a better world today.

This is why our World Maritime Day theme for this year is "IMO 70: Our Heritage - Better Shipping for a Better Future". It looks both at the past and into the years to come, providing an opportunity to reflect and showcase how IMO has developed and adapted while staying true to its overall mission.

It has done this largely through consensus among its 173 Member States, which includes Poland, a long-standing Member of the Organization that joined in 1960.

We are grateful to Poland for hosting this year's World Maritime Day Parallel Event, which provides an excellent opportunity to take the World Maritime Day theme "on the road". The event will help to amplify the message among those close to the shipping industry, and to reach a wider audience.

Since its beginning, IMO has worked to ensure that people all over the world can continue to benefit from shipping in a manner that meets the needs of the global economy, and also changing expectations about key issues such as safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.

Our challenge for the years to come remains to work in collaboration with all stakeholders to create better shipping, for a better future. I am sure that this year's World Maritime Day Parallel Event will contribute to this goal and be as successful and enjoyable as its predecessors.