Global Maritime Forum turns to youth to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals

The second edition of the Future Maritime Leaders essay competition encourages students and young professionals to submit essays about how the maritime sector can contribute to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals in the coming decade.

April 01 2020

With only ten years left to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, world leaders at the SDG Summit in September 2019 and the UN Secretary-General called on all sectors of society and the youth to mobilize for a Decade of Action and delivery for sustainable development.

The maritime sector is well positioned to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which is why the Global Maritime Forum has chosen them as the framework for its 2020 Future Maritime Leaders essay competition.

“We call on young people from around the world to share their bold ideas on how the maritime sector can contribute to the Decade of Action. International shipping is responsible for carrying around 80% of global trade. It also has deep connections to a wide range of stakeholders from across the global value chain. This gives the maritime sector a vital role in tackling issues like trade and growth, climate change, global infrastructure and food and energy security,” says Christine Loh, Chief Development Strategist of the Institute for the Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Chair of the Future Maritime Leaders essay competition selection committee.

A selection committee comprised of senior maritime stakeholders will select three winning essays, and the authors will be awarded the opportunity to participate in the Global Maritime Forum’s Virtual High-Level Meeting this October, and its Annual Summit 2021 in London. There they will represent the young generation and take up active roles as full participants alongside 250 public and private sector leaders. The winners will receive full sponsoring for the duration of the event, as well as see their contribution published on the Global Maritime Forum’s website.

In 2019, young talents from Nigeria, China and Denmark were named winners of the Global Maritime Forum’s Future Maritime Leaders essay competition. The three winners were selected among 140 essay contributions from 46 different countries around the world. The essays identified digitalization, environmental sustainability, geopolitics, the maritime workforce and their interlinkage as top issues among the next generation of maritime leaders.

Essay competition topic
Over the next decade, how can the maritime sector continue to contribute to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals?

Essay competition criteria

  • The competition is open to students and young professionals aged 18-30
  • Essay submissions in PDF format should not comprise more than 1000 words
  • Participants in the competition should also attach their CV and a submission form
  • The submissions deadline is 21 June 2020

Competition winners will be announced early September.

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee, which will select the winners of the essay competition, is comprised of the following members:

  • Christine Loh, Chief Development Strategist, Institute for the Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong (Head of Committee)
  • Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director, LADOL, Nigeria
  • Graham Westgarth, Chief Executive Officer, V.Group, UK
  • Oivind Lorentzen III, Director, SEACOR Holdings, USA
  • Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation, UK

Learn more about the Future Maritime Leaders essay competition at the Global Maritime Forum’s website.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand- in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. Learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals.

Photos and logos are available for download here.

For further information contact Head of Communications, Torben Vemmelund at or +45 2224 1446, or visit the Global Maritime Forum’s website.

About the Global Maritime Forum
The Global Maritime Forum is an international not-for-profit organization committed to shaping the future of global seaborne trade to increase sustainable long-term economic development and human wellbeing. To serve its mission, the Forum convenes leaders from across the maritime community with policymakers, NGOs, experts, and other influential decision-makers and opinion shapers from all geographies in a community of purpose to discuss collective challenges and to work together on developing new solutions and recommendations for action. In order to do so, the Forum identifies, develops and shares new insights and key issues on the global agenda and facilitates collaborative projects and initiatives that can deliver long-term impact and sustainable change.

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