Technical Co-operation Committee (TC), 60th session: 1-3 June 2010

2008-2009 technical co-operation programme commended

IMO’s 2008-2009 technical assistance activities were commended by the Organization’s Technical Co operation Committee, meeting for its 60th session, when it reviewed the report on the Integrated Technical co-operation Programme (ITCP) for 2008-2009.

The Committee highlighted the delivery rate of 97 per cent of activities successfully completed, with the additional delivery of 70 activities over and above those planned.

During the biennium, some US$22 million was spent on assisting developing countries to implement and enforce IMO standards, through 86 advisory missions and 161 wide-ranging training events, including courses, seminars and workshops held at the national, regional and global levels, resulting in the training of some 4,642 participants worldwide and reflecting the importance given to training and capacity-building. In addition, 1,184 maritime officials attended events aimed at developing and harmonizing regional strategies on technical maritime issues. Africa continued to be a priority, with the training of 951 officials through 29 seminars and workshops.

The report also highlighted the importance of non financial inputs to the overall success of the regional and national programmes, which were provided typically through the provision of hostship facilities for seminars and workshops, the provision of experts and consultants for short-term advisory or training missions and the provision of equipment.

The Committee expressed its appreciation to all the donors who had made cash contributions to IMO’s bi- and multi-lateral technical co-operation funds and/or provided in-kind support to facilitate the implementation of ITCP activities and urged IMO Member States, international and regional organizations and the maritime industry to maintain, and if possible, increase their financial and in kind contributions to the ITCP.

Funding the ITCP
Since 1 June 2009, some US$15,660,492 had been contributed to several IMO-managed multi-donor trust funds, namely the International Maritime Security Trust (IMST) Fund, the SAR Fund, the International Ship Recycling Trust (ISRT) Fund, the IMO Malacca and Singapore Straits Trust Fund, the London Convention/Protocol TC Trust Fund and the IMO Djibouti Code of Conduct Trust Fund (including a donation to this latter fund by the Government of Japan of some US$13.6 million as well as generous contributions from Norway and the Republic of Korea). A number of donations were received from individuals and other entities, including from students at Bay Point Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States of America.

Other arrangements highlighted included a pledge by the IMO/Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) for US$3 million, to be delivered over a three year period under a framework agreement between IMO and Norad. The latter would include projects on the ratification and implementation of IMO instruments; the prevention of pollution from ships in Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas; and marine pollution preparedness and response, with provision for an additional project on ship recycling.

The Committee also noted the ongoing negotiations between the Secretariat and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) for the development of two large-scale ITCP programmes, one for the implementation of IMO Conventions and the other for maritime development in Africa.

Regional presence continues to prove a success
The Committee noted that IMO’s regional presence in Africa and east Asia and also in the Caribbean through the Regional Maritime Adviser, as well as partnership arrangements for technical co-operation, continued to function successfully and that this mechanism had contributed to the effective coordination and implementation of IMO activities in those regions.

Expressing its appreciation to the Governments of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago for their generous financial and in-kind support for the regional presence offices, the Committee noted that, in 2009, the regional coordinators had been involved in 41 missions covering all fields of IMO's mandate; coordinated and assisted in the organization of 43 regional/national workshops/seminars; presented papers to 10 international/regional conferences and workshops organized by regional agencies; and in the implementation of resolutions from the 2000 Florence Conference on Maritime Search and Rescue and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) leading to the establishment of the Liberia Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and subcentres in the United Republic of Tanzania and Seychelles in May 2009.

Partnerships successful for ITCP
Several delegations highlighted the activities carried out through the existing partnership arrangements with regional/national organizations, which include financial and in-kind contributions such as cost-free experts and hosting of technical assistance activities.

In total, 63 partnership arrangements were in operation for the delivery of IMO technical co operation activities, of which 38 had been concluded with developing and developed countries and 25 with international organizations, regional institutions and industry bodies. Nine new partnership arrangements had been established with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Jordan, Spain, the Indian Ocean Commission, the International Ocean Institute – South Africa, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific and the Tokyo MoU Secretariat.

Voluntary IMO Member State audit Scheme
Delegations to the Committee expressed their unreserved support for the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme and for the Assembly resolution, adopted in 2009, providing for the Scheme to become mandatory.

The Committee was informed that, since IMO started delivering training courses for auditors under the ITCP, a total of 273 individuals from 136 countries had been trained through 19 regional courses. In view of continuing demand for assistance to developing countries to enable them to prepare for, and participate in, the Scheme, or to facilitate the participation of observers during audits, the ITCP for 2010-2011 would continue to focus on the training of auditors in all regions, with four training courses for auditors scheduled for delivery in 2010 alone.

Women’s programme makes its mark
The Committee was updated on the Programme on the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector (IWMS), which, during 2009, made its mark in a number of ways, including through the provision of short-term fellowships for women and assistance to formal networks or associations for women employed in the maritime sector. These activities addressed two key objectives of the IWMS Programme, namely, to increase the percentage of women at the senior management level within the maritime sector and to promote women's economic self-reliance, including access to employment. The gender-specific fellowships, in particular, were instrumental in reinforcing the access to training opportunities for women in the developing regions, in accordance with the concepts outlined under the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 3 "Promote gender equality and empower women".

Specific activities under the IWMS programme during 2009 included a regional seminar on maritime management, hosted by the Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt, and attended by 19 participants, which contributed to the strengthening of regional capacities and linkages between national maritime officials and the upgrading of their professional knowledge relating to the protection of the marine environment. The seminar was held under the auspices of the International Women’s Maritime Forum for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Africa.

The IWMS Programme also supported the delivery of two regional seminars for women maritime managers from the west and central Africa region, conducted at the Institut Portuaire d'Enseignement et de Recherche (IPER), Le Havre, France.

In Asia, IMO, in partnership with the Maritime Industry Authority of the Philippines, hosted a workshop on the role of women managers in the maritime sector (Asia), in Manila, the Philippines. Attended by 51 participants from 17 countries, the event resulted in the launch of the Women in Maritime Association, Asia (WIMA-Asia). WIMA-Asia adopted a resolution "Enhancing the role of Women Managers in the maritime sector, Asia", which, in recognition of the "2010: Year of the Seafarer" theme for World Maritime Day, urged the maritime industry to make sufficient provision to increase opportunities for sea-time and on-the-job training for female seafarers, so that women officers may be in a position to acquire the appropriate level of practical experience required to enhance their professional maritime skills.

The effectiveness and relevance of formal international partnerships were illustrated at the annual conference of the Women's International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), hosted by the WISTA UK national chapter and held at IMO Headquarters also in 2009. The theme of the conference, which was attended by over 250 participants from around the world, was "The Importance of Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Maritime Industry". As Keynote Speaker at the Conference, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos highlighted the value which the Organization places on regional capacity-building and the strengthening of human resources within the shipping industry – an objective that could only be reached by encouraging all interested parties, both men and women, to pursue a maritime career and thus benefit the shipping community as a whole.

The Committee expressed support for the IWMS programme – as exemplified by the representative of Kenya, herself the Founding Chair of The Association of Women managers in the Maritime Sector in East and Southern Africa (WOMESA), who thanked the Organization for championing the Programme and for actively encouraging the strengthening of regional linkages. WOMESA, launched in December 2007 with the strong support of the Kenya Maritime Authority, was an effective regional forum bringing together participants from the maritime sector of 24 countries in the subregion. The Kenya WOMESA Chapter, established in March 2010, included senior policy and government personnel, and was already instrumental in encouraging the local shipping industry to appoint women in leadership posts. The Committee was encouraged to note the WOMESA slogan: "Think Maritime – Think Women".

Linking the ITCP with the MDGs
The linkage between the ITCP and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations was also discussed, with the Committee highlighting several activities and projects which underlined IMO’s commitment to the MDGs.

These included the IWMS programme (MDG 3 "Promote gender equality and empower women".); a series of studies to assess the impact of HIV/AIDS on ports, carried out in the ports of Mombasa, Kenya, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Durban, South Africa (MDG 6 "Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases"); the conclusion of more than 60 partnership arrangements (MDG 8 “Develop a Global Partnership for Development”); and management of numerous IMO programmes related to the protection of the marine environment (MDG 7 "ensure environmental sustainability").Furthermore, the IMO global programme supporting Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) included needs assessment missions to the Maldives to identify its special shipping needs with regard to inter-island coastal shipping and to the Comoros, Djibouti and Madagascar to enhance the capacity of their maritime safety administrations to comply with IMO conventions. Under the same programme, a further such mission, focusing on search and rescue (SAR), was followed by a regional meeting for the Pacific Island region on SAR, held in Honolulu, Hawaii; a regional meeting on SAR and GMDSS facilities for several Caribbean SIDS was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, early in 2010; and SAR and GMDSS facilities continued to be established in Africa.

Additionally, three regional workshops on the operational safety of domestic ferries and non-Convention vessels had been organized: in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (for nine countries of eastern and southern Africa); in Bahrain (for five countries of the Middle East); and in Fiji (for 11 Pacific Island countries). The objective of these workshops was to enhance the safe operation of non-Convention vessels that provide livelihoods for many poor families residing along the coast.

Financial support for the World Maritime University (WMU) recommended
The Committee agreed to recommend to the IMO Council a £500,000 transfer from reserves in the Organization’s Technical Co-operation (TC) Fund to provide short-term financial support for the World Maritime University (WMU), highlighting the current financial challenges of the University, which had arisen due to the withdrawal of funding from long-standing donors, coupled with the absence of new external sources of income during the serious, and continuing, global financial crisis. The funds would be transferred in two tranches, in each of the calendar years 2010 and 2011.