Technical Cooperation Committee supports move to improve domestic ferry safety
IMO’s Technical Cooperation Committee, meeting for its 64th session, has expressed its support for increased attention to the issue of domestic ferry safety and the establishment of a new project to strengthen existing Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) projects on domestic ferry safety.
The move followed a call from IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu to explore every avenue so that the loss of life in domestic ferry accidents, wherever they may occur around the world, can be minimized.
Sub-regional forums on domestic ferry safety have previously been held for the Asia and Pacific regions in 2011 (Indonesia) and 2013 (China), and it was suggested to hold similar events in all regions in the future.
Several regional meetings of heads of maritime administrations were held in 2013, and similar meetings for all regions have been included in the ITCP for 2014 2015.
Successful ITCP delivery in 2013
The Committee reviewed the ITCP annual report for 2013, noting that during the year, 292 activities were planned, delivered and/or were ongoing, including the implementation of 24 advisory and needs assessment missions, and 119 training courses, seminars and workshops held at national, regional and global levels. These training events covered an extensive range of maritime topics, involving the training of some 3,480 persons worldwide. Another 79 people completed fellowships in the maritime field, and 1,636 officials attended events aimed at developing and harmonizing regional strategies on maritime technical matters.
Total expenditure on technical cooperation activities in 2013 reached $15.3 million, representing a delivery rate of 87% of the resources programmed for the year.
The Committee noted that 75 partnerships were currently in operation for the delivery of technical cooperation activities; 43 of these had been concluded with developing and developed countries as well as territories; and 32 with international organizations, regional institutions and industry.
The most recent agreements included two Cooperation Agreements between, respectively, IMO and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and IMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), both aimed at providing a framework for the identification of common technical cooperation activities on capacity-building matters; and an Agreement between IMO and UNEP, related to the Global Partnership on Marine Litter.
Mandatory Audit Scheme expected to boost technical assistance requests
The Committee noted that the introduction of the mandatory IMO Member State Audit Scheme, from 2016, was expected to lead to an increase in requests for technical assistance and, consequently, an increase in the overall size of the ITCP and of the funds necessary to deliver it. The Committee urged Member States, organizations and industry to make further contributions to the ITCP to support the effective implementation of the scheme, as well as other emerging needs.
The Committee was informed that, since IMO started delivering training courses for auditors under the ITCP to support the voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, which saw the first audits conducted in 2006, a total of 600 people from 150 countries had been trained through 38 regional and national activities. A lead auditors training course, based on the mandatory audit scheme, would be developed during 2014.
ITCP financing discussed
The Committee expressed its appreciation to all donors who had made contributions to IMO's technical cooperation activities through various arrangements.
It noted that, from 1 May 2013 to date, some $6.5 million had been contributed to the seven multi-donor trust funds and financial arrangements held by IMO, and that one-off cash donations to specific ITCP activities amounted to $480,355.
There were 14 financial arrangements in operation, nine of which had been established with government agencies of Canada (x3), Egypt, Italy, Norway (x2), the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom, and the remainder with international and regional organizations and industry.
The major donors to the newly established West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund, including China, Japan and the United Kingdom, were commended for their significant financial support to the fund, which at the time of the session stood at US$1.37 million. The fund will support Gulf of Guinea coastal States in capacity-building for the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships and the enhancement of maritime security in west and central Africa through an integrated approach.
The Committee noted the Organization was redesigning its funding strategy in order to respond effectively to the envisaged increase in technical cooperation requests arising from the IMO Member State Audit Scheme and from the utilization of the Country Maritime Profiles (CMPs) as a benchmark for short and medium term gap analysis. Placing national priorities would be at the centre of the new technical cooperation approach, in which the CMPs represent the first vital step in ensuring that the real needs of developing countries are captured fully and incorporated into the planning of the ITCP.
States encouraged to fill Country Maritime Profiles (CMPs)
The Committee encouraged States to complete their Country Maritime Profiles (CMPs), as it is a key tool which the Secretariat may use in developing proposals to be included in the ITCP.