IMO Secretary General Lim Ki-tack Concludes Tenure After Eight Years

LONDON - Lim Ki-tack, the secretary general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is set to retire at the end of this month, concluding two successive four-year terms that began in 2016. His tenure at the helm of the U.N. agency has been marked by significant achievements and leadership in global maritime affairs.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Lim has the distinction of being the third South Korean to occupy a top position in a U.N. organization, following in the footsteps of former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former World Health Organization Director-General Lee Jong-wook. "I had the great honor of serving in such a global organization, even though I am just an ordinary maritime official. I am grateful to my homeland country for its unwavering support," Lim stated in a retirement celebration following the IMO's Assembly meeting.

Starting his career as a crewman, Lim later transitioned into a civil servant role after graduating from Korea Maritime & Ocean University. He began his association with the IMO while working at the South Korean Embassy in Britain, eventually rising to lead the organization. His tenure as secretary general has been lauded for innovative, strategic, and efficient leadership.

Among Lim's significant contributions is his effort in addressing climate change. Under his guidance, the IMO adopted the 2023 IMO Greenhouse Gas Strategy in July, a pivotal decision towards decarbonization in shipping, aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This strategy marked the first unanimous international agreement on climate change since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Additionally, Lim spearheaded the introduction of a comprehensive port information sharing system, slated for launch next year, and played a key role in effectively managing piracy in regions such as the Gulf of Aden.

The IMO, consisting of 175 member nations and three associate members, oversees international shipping affairs. South Korea has been a prominent member of the Category A council since 2001, representing countries with significant interests in international shipping services.

The incoming leader at the IMO is Arsenio Dominguez from Panama, who previously served as Lim's chief of staff.

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