“If there was ever a time where multilateral action was necessary, it is now” – The President

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The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in different global challenges and had an impact on various sectors, including world shipping. The present global challenges and how they relate to maritime issues, were the focus of an online lecture delivered by President of Malta George Vella at the Institute of Maritime Law (IMLI).

The President described the IMLI as a world-class institute, a flag-bearer of Malta’s commitment to functioning and effective multilateralism, and a catalyst for the dissemination of vital knowledge and expertise. In this regard, he commended IMLI for the assistance it provides to governments as they develop the cadre of specialists necessary to shape national policies designed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Climate change is the world’s number one global challenge, said the President, who explained how overcoming this challenge is central to the successful accomplishment of these goals; hence, the need to educate more on this matter.

He also explained how global challenges can be transnational in nature and trans-institutional in solution. He spoke about the threat Covid-19 posed to multilateralism, as the relevance and very existence of international bodies like WHO and the UN was increasingly questioned and brought under scrutiny. He said that it is precisely in these circumstances that countries must come together to combine their efforts in combating the immediate and longer-term effects of the pandemic.

With regard to shipping, the President explained that it is vital that governments, international bodies,  and the shipping industry itself continue taking measures to ensure the continuity of operations and thus the security of supply.

During the online lecture, President George Vella also mentioned the challenge of the production, procurement, and distribution of light arms and small weapons, as well as the production of ammunition, a central issue that deserves increased international attention.

He went on to explain how only serious controls taken at an international level can bring the lucrative trade in weapons and ammunition to an effective halt. By addressing, and hopefully eliminating, the trafficking of both armaments and ammunition we will reduce the chances of conflict.

Migration was also another global phenomenon mentioned by the President, who explained how part of the solution lies in the narratives on the subject; the way we communicate about it and the perceptions that have been created around this phenomenon. Another global challenge is the eradication of poverty, which is one of the most important SDGs, with two other global challenges that should not be ignored being that of threats to cyber security, and that of artificial intelligence.

The solution to all these threats and challenges can only lie in the attainment of security and peace through democracy, freedom, tolerance and dialogue, concluded the President. 

The online lecture involved participants ranging from 54 countries around the world.

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