The maritime transport sector represents one of the primary services for the development of the global economy, as over 90% of international trade is seaborne. It has been generally recognized that IMO rules and regulations have been successful in reducing the loss of life at sea and the quantities of oil spilled by ships. However, a number of factors - such as the lack of required resources and skills in many developing countries - can influence the levels of global maritime safety, while others - such as poor management, incompetent manning of vessels or physically substandard ships - continue to threaten the safety of life at sea, the security of shipping and the marine environment.
The IMO's ITCP is crucial in helping developing countries implement IMO instruments for safer and more secure shipping and enhanced environmental protection. The importance of the ITCP increases with every new instruments adopted by IMO and with the identified linkage with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, there are concerns about IMO’s capacity to meet the growing needs of developing countries for technical assistance and, in particular, the long term sustainability of the ITCP. The challenge for IMO is to ensure and equitable and sustainable means of funding the ITCP and to improve and promote its effectiveness.
The issue of ensuring a sustainable means of funding the ITCP has been with IMO for some time. In the process of identifying such a means, a strategy has been adopted by the Technical Co-operation Committee to ensure the continued financial viability of the ITCP through core funding and leveraging of external and in-kind support and through maximizing cost-effective delivery. Resource mobilization for the ITCP delivery is a shared responsibility of the Member States, the IMO Secretariat, international organizations concerned and industry. IMO has made a good number of partnerships arrangements with Governments, international organizations, regional institutions and industry for the ITCP implementation. However, the Secretariat needs to promote the synergy between bilateral capacity-building programmes and the ITCP further and to engage the private sector.
As well as providing financial contributions and in-kind support, Member States are invited to consider the linkage between the ITCP and the MDGs when formulating their national development assistance programmes covering the maritime sector and to co-operate with IMO in the development and execution of resource mobilization campaigns.
To promote the effectiveness of the ITCP, measures have been put in place to enhance programme management and oversight. Programmes are implemented and managed through a Programme Implementation Document (PID), which contains background information, objectives, inputs, outputs, a list of activities, key performance indicators and contingency. The PID serves as a contractual framework between the Technical Co-operation Division and implementation agents. The Director, TCD, assumes overall responsibility for the monitoring of the ITCP programmes. The Contract Manager assumes the oversight function for all the activities included under the programme to ensure effective and timely implementation in accordance with the prescribed budgetary allocation.
Other measures in place to ensure the high quality of IMO’s technical co-operation delivery are the Advisory Panel on the Co ordination of Technical Co-operation Activities on the Recruitment of Experts and Consultants and the Roster of Experts which includes graduates from the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) and the World Maritime University (WMU).
In order to improve the effectiveness of the ITCP,. IMO has, over the years, developed a monitoring, evaluation and audit framework, which includes on-the-spot evaluation, ex-post evaluation, Impact Assessment Exercise (IAE), internal audit and external audit. The strengthening of the Technical Co-operation Committee’s (TCC) monitoring function with respect to the development and implementation of the Organization’s technical co-operation activities has been evidenced by the additional time allocated to its meetings and the required consideration and approval of comprehensive reports on ITCP implementation and on the IAE.
Monitoring evaluation and audit framework:
- On-the-spot evaluation: participants are requested to fill questionnaires at the end of an event (seminar, workshop or training course) providing comments on the administrative arrangements, technical content, quality of training materials, performance of consultants and recommendations for future improvements.
- Ex-post evaluation of training events is conducted by the Internal Oversight Section (IOS) on a selective basis. Letters are sent by IOS to participants requesting them to provide comments on the usefulness of the training events they have attended and information on whether they are able to apply the knowledge learned to their work. Evaluation summaries are sent by IOS to the Implementation Officer concerned for action.
- Impact Assessment Exercise: In accordance with the procedures adopted by the TCC, an IAE is conducted every four years, providing an assessment of the impact on the beneficiaries of the assistance delivered through the ITCP and the TC Fund resources. Before each IAE, a methodology is developed and approved by the TCC. The IAE is usually conducted by external consultants and their report and recommendations are submitted to the TCC and the Council.
- Internal audit: internal audits are conducted annually by IOS and include aspects of technical co-operation management.
- External audit: the external Auditor reports to the Council on the annual financial audit. In addition, other non-financial issues are also reviewed by the external Auditor, including matters pertaining to the planning and implementation of the ITCP, recruitment of technical co-operation consultants and experts, and delivery of technical co-operation activities.