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Maritime transport is essential to the world’s economy as over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea and it is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move en masse goods and raw materials around the world. IMO is the United Nations (UN) system’s regulatory agency for the maritime sector and its global mandate is "safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping through cooperation." IMO pursues that mandate by adopting the highest practicable standards of maritime safety and security, efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of pollution from ships, as well as through consideration of the related legal matters and effective implementation of IMO’s instruments with a view to their universal and uniform application.
IMO’s rules and standards are accepted by Governments and enforced by them in the exercise of flag, port and coastal State jurisdiction because they provide a single, universal framework governing maritime operations and ensure the efficient, safe and environmentally friendly carriage of global trade.
However, many developing countries cannot yet give full and complete effect to IMO’s instruments. For this reason and, as mandated by the Convention that created IMO, the Organization has established an Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP), with the sole purpose of assisting countries in building up their human and institutional capacities for uniform and effective compliance with the Organization’s regulatory framework.
By fostering capacity-building in the maritime sector, the ITCP is crucial for assisting developing countries to implement IMO instruments for safer and more secure shipping, enhanced environmental protection and facilitation of international maritime traffic. The importance of the ITCP increases further with amendments to existing and the development of new instruments by IMO, in which the particular needs of, and impact on, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are taken into account.
The table below illustrates how the ITCP contributes to sustainable and socio-economic development.
IMPROVING THE SAFETY, SECURITY, ENVIRONMENTAL SOUNDNESS AND EFFICIENCY OF MARITIME ACTIVITIES
well-run merchant and fishing fleets
improved turnaround of vessels and port throughput
increased global trade
improved balance of payments
reduced number of lives and ships lost at sea
ENHANCING MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
cleaner waters and coasts
greater access to protein through improved fish catches
integrated coastal zone management
PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS AND POVERTY ERADICATION
- employment for seafarers in the global shipping and fisheries industries
- advancement of women in the maritime sector
- increased foreign exchange earnings
- consequent beneficial impact at local level, especially in coastal/fishing communities
Vision and Strategy of the ITCP
IMO’s technical cooperation programme began in the 1960s. During the late 1990s, IMO’s Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC) comprehensively reformed the technical cooperation work of the Organization in order to increase its effectiveness. The reform provided a policy framework for the preparation, design and implementation of the ITCP, covering the following key principles:
- ownership of the programme development and implementation process rests with the recipient countries themselves;
- IMO’s regulatory priorities are systematically integrated into the programme-building process;
- the ITCP promotes the development of human and institutional resources in the maritime sector, on a sustainable basis, including the advancement of women;
- the ITCP promotes regional collaboration and technical cooperation among developing countries;
- IMO builds partnerships with Governments, industry and international development aid agencies to ensure appropriate funding for the ITCP;
- IMO also seeks to mobilize regional expertise and resources for its technical assistance activities;
- the ITCP is coordinated with other development aid programmes in the maritime field in order to maximize the benefits of combined efforts and resources; and
- IMO ensures, through monitoring systems and impact assessment exercises, that programme targets are met and that lessons learned are transferred back to the programme-building process.
The Organization’s strategic plan for the six-year period 2014-2019 identifies strategic directions for enabling IMO to achieve its mission objectives in the years ahead. One of these strategic directions requests IMO to strengthen its capacity-building programmes with a focus on:
- developing capacity-building partnerships with governments, organizations and industry;
- ensuring the long-term sustainability of the ITCP;
- contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including through the development of major projects targeting emerging issues;
- meeting the needs of its developing Member States; and
- further improving the delivery, utilization, efficiency and effectiveness of its technical cooperation programmes.
Sustainable Maritime Development
Following the 2005 World Summit which endorsed and re-affirmed the MDGs, the Organization has established a linkage between the ITCP and the MDGs. Through this linkage, the ITCP gives priority to those activities which not only promote early ratification and effective implementation of IMO instruments but also contribute to the attainment of the MDGs, taking into account the special needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and the particular maritime transport needs of Africa.
As a result of Rio+20, the United Nations is taking an initiative to set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will eventually supersede and go beyond the MDGs. IMO has developed a concept paper on Sustainable Maritime Transportation System, which includes the following set of goals and actions, to highlight the importance of maritime transportation:
1. Safety Culture and Environmental Stewardship;
2. Education and training in maritime professions, and support for seafarers;
3. Energy efficiency and ship-port interface;
4. Energy supply for ships;
5. Maritime traffic support and advisory systems;
6. Maritime Security;
7. Technical cooperation;
8. New technology and innovation;
9. Finance, liability and insurance mechanisms; and
10. Ocean Governance.
Priorities for the Future
IMO’s Technical Cooperation Programme addresses the maritime needs of developing countries by focusing on three priorities that, together, can ensure sustainable maritime development, efficient and safe maritime transport services, as well as effective environmental protection.
|ADVOCACY OF GLOBAL MARITIME RULES AND STANDARDS ||International treaty instruments ratified, and implementing national legislation put in place|
|INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING||Public sector departments capable of ensuring the effective exercise of flag, port and coastal State jurisdiction|
|HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT|
Trained male and female experts to develop and manage national programmes for:
· maritime safety administration
· marine environment protection
· development of maritime legislation
· facilitation of maritime traffic
· technical port operations
· training of seafarers and shore-based personnel