OPENING REMARKS SIXTY-SECOND SESSION OF
THE TECHNICAL CO-OPERATION COMMITTEE
Thank you, Madame Chairman, and good morning, distinguished delegates and observers.
Welcome to the sixty-second session of the Technical Co-operation Committee.
It is a pleasure for me to address the Committee for the first time in my capacity as Secretary-General and, this evening, I should like to invite you all to a welcome cocktail, which I shall be hosting in the Delegates’ Lounge, immediately following the close of the session.
This year is a remarkable one here in the United Kingdom, with the nation-wide celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The events during the last 4 days here in London were all enjoyable. In particular, the Thames River Pageant, with 1,000 boats passing the Albert Embankment in front of the Headquarters building with hundreds of Secretariat staff and their families and friends of IMO at the terrace, was a spectacular event for celebration. Congratulations to the United Kingdom. The Organization’s host country is a Maritime Nation!
We are now looking forward to the Olympic and Paralympic Games during the summer and 2012 is also remarkable at the global level, with the Rio+20 Conference of the United Nations taking place in Rio de Janeiro later this month. Its overall objective is to renew political commitment to sustainable development through the promotion of a ‘green economy’ in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. Already 40 years ago, in 1972, the United Nations organized the first-ever UN Conference on the Human Environment, which took place in Stockholm; 10 years later, in 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was adopted, based on the principle that the seas and oceans are the ‘common heritage of mankind’, which must be safeguarded for all peoples and for future generations; and then, 10 years further on, in 1992, the Earth Summit took place in Rio de Janeiro, with the environment and development as the principal themes and which adopted Agenda 21, a blueprint for economic growth, social equity and environmental protection which included a set of recommendations related to shipping and the role of IMO; and 10 years later still, in 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development took place in Johannesburg; and, later this month, we will return to Rio to talk about sustainability once again.
As the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio led to valuable and effective work by IMO on Agenda 21, we should now support the Rio+20 process. The two main themes of Rio+20 are the creation of a ‘green economy’ and a new institutional framework for sustainable development. Key elements of sustainable shipping include energy efficiency, new technology and innovation, maritime education and training, maritime security, maritime traffic management and the development of maritime infrastructure in both developed and developing countries. But these must be underpinned by global standards – the standards developed and maintained by IMO with a view to ensuring safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound international shipping, on which the sustainable development and growth of the global economy depends.
I see as one of the major priorities of my tenure the promotion of sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development. I believe, therefore, that Rio+20 is a good opportunity to highlight the contribution the shipping industry and this Organization has already made to sustainable maritime development, but also to renew our commitment. The Secretariat has prepared a document on IMO’s preparation for Rio+20 for the information of this Committee (TC 62/INF.2). And, throughout this week, you will also have the opportunity to visit our Rio+20 exhibition stand in the Delegates’ lounge.
When I assumed my duties as Secretary-General at the beginning of this year, I set my objectives for the Organization as follows: a forward-looking, efficient and cost-conscious Secretariat ensuring strengthened and knowledge-based authority in setting global standards as a Specialized Agency within the United Nations system. In order to realize these objectives, I established an in-house review and reform mechanism involving five sub-groups, including a sub-group on technical co-operation. I am pleased that the various sub-groups are making steady progress and I will report on the progress of this review process to the Council next week. Meanwhile, my own proposals on review and reform of technical co-operation are submitted in document TC 62/3/1 for your consideration this week.
In order to provide the best possible assistance to developing countries, and thus ensure the most effective and cost efficient delivery of the Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme, I would wish to see a more targeted approach adopted when planning technical co-operation activities, making such an approach more closely aligned to the real needs of developing countries. A useful tool for identifying priority needs would be the development of individual country profiles, based on clearly defined capacity-building requirements. I envisage that Member States would play a key role by providing information and feedback on what their most important priorities are. Further, I believe it would be useful to assist developing countries with the formulation of a national transport strategy and policy in order to provide a springboard for the development of maritime clusters in those countries.
I look forward to the Committee’s consideration of my proposals and am sure that your views and comments will be very useful in achieving a better targeted delivery of the ITCP. I expect there to be a lively debate and feel encouraged that several countries have also submitted their own proposals to improve the delivery of ITCP activities. I therefore look forward to the Committee having a fruitful debate on all the proposed measures, with a view to providing clear guidance on the way forward.
Since becoming Secretary-General at the start of this year, I have conducted a number of missions, many of which were relevant to IMO technical co-operation. I met on several occasions with the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon. Among other things, I discussed with him how we can strengthen co-operation between the UN and IMO, for all aspects of the work of the Organization and, in particular, for capacity building for counter-piracy activities. Encouraged by Mr. Ban, IMO held a Conference on Capacity Building to Counter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, here at our Headquarters, on 15 May, and to which all relevant UN Agencies and the European Union had been invited. A range of tangible outcomes on the way forward emerged from this Conference and Letters of Commitment on Strategic Partnerships were signed between IMO and a number of organizations. We are now working towards the implementation of the decisions reached at the Conference and taking action to accelerate the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, ensuring co-operation with UN Agencies and the European Union providing additional resources.
You are expected to consider for adoption, at this session, the biennial report on the delivery of the Integrated Technical Co operation Programme during 2010-2011. Some 180 training courses were provided for a total of 4,342 persons. In terms of expenditures, in 2011, the ITCP activities reached 87% of the agreed budget, that is US$15.5 million, the highest level of expenditure ever recorded. This excellent result reflects, by any standards, the Organization’s commitment to assisting developing countries in meeting their obligations under IMO instruments to which they are a party. It is especially satisfying to know that it was obtained thanks to the Organization’s efforts to achieve more efficient implementation of ITCP activities, including improved budgetary planning; flexible arrangements to transfer funds between programmes; enhanced monitoring; and strengthened communication and coordination between programme managers, implementation agents and implementation officers.
Equally encouraging is the report of the Impact Assessment Exercise that was conducted by a team of three independent and external consultants and covered the four-year period from 2008 to 2011. As you know, the exercise is conducted every four years with a view to ascertaining both the impact of ITCP activities on and their relevance to the needs of beneficiary countries. You may also recall that, at its last session, the Committee approved the methodology of the exercise, including three thematic areas, namely human resource development; institutional capacity building; and the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme.
The consultants concluded that the delivery of the ITCP activities between 2008 and 2011 had made a positive difference to both the human and the institutional capacity of the recipient countries and that the ITCP had been effective, relevant and generally sustainable. However, they simultaneously noted that there was still room for improvement and made 10 recommendations and five ‘quick-win’ suggestions aimed at improving the development and delivery of the ITCP. The Secretariat has prepared a submission with its initial response for consideration by the Committee and I would encourage you to discuss it fully with a view to taking onboard all relevant measures to improve upon the ITCP.
Other important items feature on your agenda this week. I would highlight, in particular:
• sustainable financing of the ITCP;
• linkage between the ITCP and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
• partnerships for progress;
• the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme;
• integration of women in the maritime sector; and
• proposed amendments to the Rules of Operation of the Technical Co-operation Fund.
The Committee may wish to note that since its previous session, and as of 17 April of this year, a total sum of over US$7million (US$7,380,259) has been contributed to the ITCP through multi-donor trust funds and other financial arrangements. During the same period, a total one-off cash donation to the ITCP amounted to over US$400,000 (US$415,657). As of the beginning of this month (1 June 2012), 75 partnerships arrangements were operational, of which 15 had been established since mid-April 2011. All these new developments will no doubt facilitate the delivery of the ITCP.
You may recall that, at its sixty-first session, the Committee established a correspondence group on a demonstration project aimed at showing the potential role of maritime transport facilitation in the reduction of poverty. The Committee will be invited, at this session, to comment on the group’s report and, specifically, on the proposed terms of reference for the demonstration project, on proposed criteria for selecting pilot countries and on financing options for the project.
This is the first time that Mrs. Nancy Karigithu, of Kenya, will chair a meeting of the Committee. I am sure you will give her the usual support and co-operation so that she may succeed in her important responsibility and demanding tasks with the support to be provided by the Secretariat under the leadership of Director Zhu. I thank you in advance for that and wish both her and you every success in your work.