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Seminar on Maritime Transport Policy for Senior Maritime Transport Officials, Batumi, Georgia



Batumi, Georgia, 14 September 2016

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to speak to you at the opening of this Seminar on Maritime Transport Policy for Senior Maritime Transport Officials from the littoral States of the Black and Caspian Seas and Moldova.

The seminar has been organised by IMO in cooperation with the Georgian Maritime Administration and with the involvement of the World Maritime University (WMU), and is being held in conjunction with the Georgia International Maritime Forum 2016.

Indeed, this Seminar is not the only IMO related event this week. A global training course on legal, policy and institutional reforms development and implementation of MARPOL Annex VI is currently being held under the auspices of the GEF-UNDP-IMO “Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships” Project, in short, the GloMEEP Project. I am particularly pleased to note that Georgia is one of the Project’s Lead Pilot Countries and has taken the initiative to host this global training event concurrently with the Maritime Forum.

As I said at the opening of the Forum yesterday, this event is a positive initiative which brings together many different yet interconnected stakeholders. All stakeholders play a role in shipping, an industry that is indispensable to the world, and it connects people through trade. But it is also stakeholders who are aware of the critical need to ensure healthy oceans. This delicate balance can only be achieved through a sustainable maritime transport sector which a carefully devised and executed maritime transport policy can facilitate. So this Forum provides an excellent opportunity for IMO to promote its work on the development and adoption of National Maritime Transport Policies.

The promotion and development of national policies to guide planning, decision making and relevant legislative actions is a good governance practice of many governments. The development of a National Maritime Transport Policy is crucial in serving as a fundamental guidance document, for successive governments, to provide a long-term sustainable vision for the future of the maritime sector, given its critical importance to the socio-economic development and environmental well-being of a country.

Although National Maritime Transport Policies should be viewed as distinct from national ocean policies or integrated maritime policies, such policies could be complementary to, form part of or be integrated into these overarching ocean governance policies. National Policies should be consistent with, and complement, a country’s broad strategic, economic and social objectives. Moreover, they should reflect global standards as well as regional policies and strategies.

IMO recognises that National Maritime Transport Policies are important elements of a country’s economic infrastructure. Such policies are also key to a coordinated and integrated approach to maritime transport. So we are assisting our Member States developing or reviewing their National Maritime Transport Policies. By doing this, we can help ensure that international maritime treaties – including IMO Conventions – are more broadly and consistently implemented.

In order to assist interested IMO Member States, IMO has teamed up with the World Maritime University (WMU) to develop a training package on National Maritime Transport Policies. The training package, which is expected to be finalised by the end of 2016, aims to provide the necessary information, knowledge and skills to enable national competent officials to develop, adopt and update such policies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The development and/or updating of National Maritime Transport Policies and their adoption, involves three important stages: the preparatory/drafting stage, the review stage, and the approval/adoption stage. The role of senior maritime transport officials is of paramount importance and pivotal for all three stages. I sincerely hope that this Seminar will reaffirm the need to develop and adopt NMTPs. Moreover, I hope that the Seminar will provide you with the necessary knowledge to guide your officials in the development of such a policy and eventually review the proposed policy, and recommend it for approval.

Finally, on behalf of IMO, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Captain Mamuka Akhaladze and his team at the Georgian Maritime Administration, for their cooperation and assistance in organizing this Seminar. I would also like to express my thanks to WMU, represented here by Associate Academic Dean and Associate Professor Patrick Donner and Associate Professor George Theocharidis, for their work in developing the programme and presenting the subject at this event. Last but not least, I would like to express appreciation to you, the participants at this Seminar, for sparing your precious time to be here today.

I would like to thank you for your attention and wish you success in your endeavours. I now formally declare this Seminar open.