Asia is the most populous and largest continent in the world, by a considerable margin. It covers 8.6% of the Earth’s total surface area, or 29.4% of its land area, and contains more than 60% of the world’s population. The Asian region includes some of the fastest growing economies, for example, the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia and Viet Nam. There are nine nations that still fall under the category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and two that are Small Islands Developing States (SIDS). Most Asian countries are maritime nations, except for four land-locked countries.
There are 22 IMO Member States and two Associate Members in the region. In November 2011, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand were elected to serve on the IMO Council for a period of two years.
As a major seafarer supplying region, 20 countries in Asia have ratified the 1978 STCW Convention. The region also hosts the major ship recycling countries with more than 90% of the global ship recycling capacity.
However, the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009, has not been ratified by any of the Asian countries yet.
Regional Presence in East Asia
IMO has a regional presence office located in Manila, the Philippines
, based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed between IMO and the host Government. The Regional Coordinator for the East Asian Countries plays an important role in supporting the formulation and execution of the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) and facilitates IMO’s input into national and regional development policies. Within the framework of partnership arrangements, regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) support IMO's activities in Asia.
Priority programme for 2012-2013
IMO's technical cooperation programme has continued to assist the region over the last biennium through the development and implementation of regional and national activities. Certain activities undertaken in the last biennium will require follow-up and additional support in order to achieve the agreed targets. The ITCP programme for 2012 2013 will continue to focus on those activities linked to the MDGs, with particular relevance to LDCs and SIDS.
IMO will continue to support upgrading of maritime administrations in the region by strengthening their institutional and human capacities and establishing quality-based monitoring systems with a view to assisting them in the ratification and implementation of the relevant IMO Conventions. With this in mind, support will also be provided to promote the implementation of the revised STCW 1978 Convention and the STCW-F 95 Convention.
The facilitation of international maritime traffic, the enhancement of maritime safety, inter alia, safety of navigation, search and rescue and casualty investigation, as well as the promotion of greater awareness of the safety of domestic ferries and non-Convention vessels will be addressed through specific activities. On matters related to the protection of the marine environment, the focus will be on the ratification, implementation and compliance with the MARPOL 73/78, AFS 2001, BWM 2004, Hong Kong and OPRC 90 Conventions amongst others.
Human resources capacity-building
Since 1984, until the end of the 2010/2011 academic year, a total of 1,575 nationals have been trained at World Maritime University (WMU)
, representing some 48.5% of the total WMU graduates worldwide. The corresponding number of nationals who have graduated from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI)
is 112 or 18.85% of IMLI graduates worldwide since 1989.
The maritime training institutions in Asia can be compared with the finest in the world and offer quality training programmes in compliance with international standards. However, there are a number of education and training institutions that are in need of assistance.
Partnerships with regional and/or national institutions
Partnership arrangements with governments, regional organizations/programmes and industry continue to contribute to the delivery of the ITCP activities in the region. These partnership arrangements promote the effectiveness of the ITCP by increasing general awareness of IMO’s mandate and the ITCP, the ownership of the IMO technical assistance programme by developing countries and regions and the synergies between recipients/donors/regional bodies and international organizations.
National partners include China, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. Regional partners include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the regional programme on Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and the secretariat of the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control.
These agreements are of a very different nature and cover from financial support, in-kind support, establishment of the position of regional coordination and delegation of TC implementation responsibilities.
A successful example of partnerships in the region is the GEF/IBRD/IMO Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) Demonstration Project, which is co-funded by the UN Global Environment Facility (GEF), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and IMO.
Since IMO’s inclusion in the Statistical Reporting Directives lists of the OECD/Development Assistance Committee, validating IMO as a member of the OECD list of organizations eligible to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has made a significant financial contribution towards two environmental projects, through their ODA budgetary allocations to support a pioneering project on "Building capacities in East Asian countries to address greenhouse gas emissions from ships" and the Yeosu project on "environmental sensitivity mapping and hydrographic modeling in the Gulf of Thailand".
The sea is the most significant geographical feature of the Pacific Region. Most international trade and commerce are conducted by sea and most goods reach regional and national markets by sea transport. Ships and seafaring are fundamental Pacific traditions. Most Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) rely on the sea for sustenance (fisheries), coastal transportation and employment in shipping or on fishing vessels.
The economies of the South Pacific Island States are based primarily on small-scale agriculture. Fishing, offshore financial services and tourism are other mainstays of the economies. Tourism dominates the economies of the Cook Islands and Palau and generates a substantial part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu. The seafaring tradition continues and inter-island shipping services play a crucial role in providing the fundamental means of transportation, with several island countries being suppliers of seafarers to the regional and global shipping fleet. Regular remittances from seafarers working on vessels that trade internationally comprise a significant proportion of Gross National Product (GNP) in some countries.
The Pacific Islands region is composed of 16 States and 11 Territories of which 13 are IMO Member States. Fourteen Pacific Island States are SIDS and five of them are LDCs. In November 2011, Australia was elected to serve on the IMO Council for a period of two years.
Priority programme for 2012-20131
Although a great deal has been done through the implementation of regional programme activities, there are still many issues to be addressed. The region's lack of adequate infrastructure and skilled management in maritime safety administration and training are obstacles to meeting international requirements. Emphasis during the 2012 2013 biennium will continue to address the issue of sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation, in LDCs and SIDS, through capacity-building activities in the shipping sector.
The ITCP will continue its focus on human resource capacity issues by strengthening the region's capacity to respond to changes in the maritime sector and to enable it to provide appropriate, accredited training to seafarers and the facilitation of maritime traffic, shipment and safe handling of dangerous goods and bulk cargoes. With regard to the protection of the marine environment, the programme will also focus on the ratification, implementation and compliance with the MARPOL 73/78, AFS 2001, BWM 2004 and OPRC 90 Conventions amongst others.
Human resources capacity-building
Since 1984, until the end of the 2010/2011 academic year, 35 nationals have been trained at the World Maritime University (WMU)
, representing some 1.07% of the total of WMU graduates worldwide. The corresponding number of nationals who have graduated from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI)
is 24 or 4.04% of IMLI graduates worldwide since 1989.
The region has 11 maritime training institutions. Currently, Papua New Guinea and Fiji offer senior officer courses, while others are mainly involved in the training of ratings. Some countries in the region also offer courses for fishing vessel personnel. There is no MoU on port State control developed specifically for the region, although five island countries have joined the Tokyo MoU on Port State Control.
Partnerships with regional and/or national institutions
The MoU with the Government of Australia provides in-kind support for the delivery of maritime security-related activities.
The Accord with Australia and the International Labour Organization establishes mutual commitments to support the streamlined implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, to ensure decent employment conditions on board ships operating in the Asia-Pacific region.
IMO collaborates with two regional organizations in the Pacific Islands region – the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) for the implementation and delivery of ITCP activities. Within the framework of the MoU with SPC, regional workshops/training courses are delivered yearly covering various aspects of maritime safety, security and facilitation of maritime traffic.
Similarly, based on the partnership agreement with SPREP, regional workshops/training courses covering various aspects of protection of the marine environment are delivered every year.