Technical Co-operation Committee (TC), 59th session: 23-25 June 2009

Multi-million dollar Technical Co-operation Programme for next biennium approved

The Technical Co-operation Committee, meeting for its 59th session, approved the Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme (ITCP) for the 2010-2011 biennium, comprising 14 programmes (seven regional and seven global) with funding requirements of some US$22.44 million.

Particular focus is placed on the continued provision of support to Africa and to small island developing States and least developed countries; strengthening the integration of women in the maritime sector; the promotion of partnerships with technical co operation partners; enhancement of maritime security; and assistance in capacity-building aspects of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme.

The ITCP includes an allocation of US$3,850,000, or 17% of the total, for projects in Africa, including the funding of the three regional presence offices (in Abidjan, Accra and Nairobi) and to support the completion of the planned search and rescue network off Africa's Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts.

Activities will be organized to assist countries understand and implement the recently adopted Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 and to enhance training capabilities relating to the revised International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), in anticipation of the conference to adopt Amendments to the STCW Convention and STCW Code, scheduled to be held in Manila, the Philippines, in June 2010.

Projects to address piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden in ITCP

In view of the increase in attacks of piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, activities for the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden are also included in the ITCP for 2010-2011.

The delegation of Japan informed the Committee that the Japanese Parliament had approved a supplementary budget of US$15 million to support activities for the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, in particular, to support the establishment of piracy information exchange centres and to develop national legislation on piracy.

The Japanese donation is expected to form the basis of a new targeted IMO multi-donor trust fund, to be named the IMO Djibouti Code Trust Fund.

Successful implementation of the ITCP in 2008 noted

The Committee noted the interim report on the 2008-2009 biennium, and expressed its appreciation to all the donors who had made cash contributions to the bi- and multi-lateral technical co-operation trust funds and/or provided in-kind support to facilitate the implementation of ITCP activities.

During 2008, 41 advisory missions were carried out, with a preponderance of maritime safety assignments; and 76 training events, including courses, seminars and workshops, were held at the national, regional and global levels, covering a wide range of topics and resulting in the training of some 1,923 participants worldwide. In addition, 189 maritime officials attended events aimed at developing and harmonizing regional strategies on maritime technical issues.

Some US$10.3 million were spent on technical co-operation activities in 2008, representing an annual delivery rate of 77% of the agreed budget; in line with the pattern of delivery of more than 70% of the set budget from 2003 onwards. Non financial inputs were also crucial to the overall success of the regional and national activities, including the provision of hostship facilities for seminars and workshops, the provision of experts and consultants for short-term advisory missions.

Among the various activities supported by the Technical Co-operation Fund, the steady expansion of the search and rescue coverage off the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts of Africa was highlighted, with four of the five planned subregional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) now in place. The latest MRCC to be commissioned was in Monrovia, Liberia, in April this year, while the signing of a multilateral agreement for the establishment of the fifth, and last, subregional MRCC - in Rabat, Morocco - is expected later in 2009.

Auditors trained for Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme

The Committee was informed that a total of 201 individuals from 134 countries have been trained as auditors for the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, through 14 regional courses, with three more courses planned for this year.

So far, 49 Member States have volunteered for audit and 31 audits have been conducted, including one dependent territory.

Success in contributing to Millennium Development Goals highlighted

The Committee was informed of a number of technical co-operation activities specifically developed to contribute to the implementation of those Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which fall within IMO's competence. The Organization was invited to continue giving high priority to those activities which not only promoted the early ratification and effective implementation of IMO instruments, but also contributed to the attainment of the MDGs, taking into account the special needs of small island developing States and least developed countries to meet their special maritime needs; and the particular maritime transport needs of Africa.

Activities carried out under the global programme on support to small island developing States and least developed countries for their special shipping needs included: one advisory mission on the evaluation and assessment of Search and Rescue (SAR) and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) facilities for the establishment of a regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and a Maritime Rescue Subcentre in the Caribbean; a regional training course on hydrography and a seminar focusing on the development of hydro-cartogenic capabilities in Pacific Island countries; the establishment of SAR and GMDSS facilities in Africa; needs assessment and advisory missions to Cape Verde, Mauritania, the Seychelles and the United Republic of Tanzania; and one four-year fellowship awarded to a woman from Cape Verde to study at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt.

The Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector (IWMS) programme, launched in 1988, continued to be IMO's primary vehicle for articulating the United Nations system-wide commitment to MDG 3 (promoting gender equality and empowering women). Activities implemented under this programme included a special fellowship programme and follow-up assistance to two regional associations in Africa: the International Women's Maritime Forum for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the Women in the Maritime Sector of East and Southern Africa (WOMESA).

In Asia, the IMO regional coordinator in Manila had initiated the establishment of a women's association "Women in Maritime Philippines" (WIMAPHIL), whose objective was to promote the empowerment of women in the maritime sector, and which had placed HIV/AIDS issues high on its agenda.

With regards to MDG 6 (combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases), the Secretariat, in conjunction with the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA), had carried out studies to assess the impact of HIV/AIDS in the ports of Mombasa, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, the United Republic of Tanzania. These studies had adopted a participatory approach in developing action plans that would assist port workers with knowledge, skills, programmes and activities to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

With regard to the development and improvement of partnership arrangements for technical co operation (MDG 8), the Committee was informed that, to date, the Secretariat had concluded 66 partnership arrangements, including the IMO Trust Fund to enhance safety of navigation, environmental protection and security in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore; and the Global Industry Alliance for Marine Biosecurity, to address the transfer of alien species and plants in ships' ballast tanks.

IMSSEA begins operations in Italy

The Committee noted that the International Maritime Safety, Security and Environment Academy was established in Genoa, Italy, in 2008, as a successor to the Trieste International Maritime Academy.

Since the Academy's inaugural course on flag State implementation and port State control in October 2008, the Academy has conducted a further three courses covering search and rescue, marine accident investigation procedures and the handling of hazardous cargoes, training a total of 26 nationals from 15 countries. Another three courses on the handling of dangerous goods, flag State implementation and the ISPS Code are scheduled for later in 2009.

Regional presence delivers success

The Committee noted that the regional coordination and delivery of the ITCP mechanism had continued to function successfully in Africa and east Asia through the regional presence scheme, and in the Caribbean through the Regional Maritime Adviser.

The Committee was informed that in the past year, the four IMO regional coordinators in Africa and east Asia had continued to implement and coordinate the delivery of ITCP activities as well as to represent IMO at meetings in their respective subregions.

During 2008, the regional coordinators coordinated and organized 27 regional workshops/seminars and missions, and implemented nine workshops/seminars and three missions. Nine of these activities had focused on the Millennium Development Goals and the regional coordinators had visited 13 countries to provide ad hoc support and advice.