Technical Co-operation Committee, 66th session, 10-12 October 2016

Supporting SDG implementation
How IMO’s integrated technical cooperation programme can support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) was one of the key items on the agenda of the Technical Cooperation Committee.

Several goals have particular resonance for IMO including Goal 5 (gender equality); Goal 13 (combat climate change); Goal 14 (use of the oceans, seas and marine resources); and Goal 17 (partnerships). The Committee recognized that IMO’s Strategic Plan, Strategic Directions and High-level Action Plan also needed to link in to the SDGs. 

It was agreed that, subject to the concurrence of Council, an intersessional working group should be held to discuss the linkages with IMO’s technical assistance work, and specifically the next Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (for 2018-2019), with the SDGs.  

Women in the maritime sector – achieving training, visibility, recognition
The Committee was updated on the latest activities supported by IMO’s Programme on the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector, which supports SDG Goal 5 (gender equality) and has been running for 28 years. One of the programme’s successes has been the establishment of grass-roots women in maritime associations across the regions, drawing on the United Nations principle of implementing from the field-level upwards. 

Since 2002, IMO has supported the establishment of regional women in maritime associations, thereby strengthening the formal regional linkages between women managers in the maritime and port sectors, to provide a permanent channel for the exchange of information relating particularly to the effective implementation of IMO's instruments. These associations also provide a springboard for developing regional training opportunities, to match the specific needs and requirements of women, taking into account the socio-cultural elements which may determine access to training and career developments.

IMO has helped champion national associations and has supported the establishment of regional women in maritime associations, including the Women in Maritime Association, Caribbean (WiMAC); the Pacific Women in Maritime Association (PACWIMA); International Women's Maritime Forum for Middle East and North Africa and Africa; Network of Professional Women in the Maritime and Port Sectors for west and central Africa; Association for Women Managers in the Maritime Sector, Asia (WIMA-Asia); and the Association for Women in the maritime sector of east and southern Africa (WOMESA).

Strong national associations are also feeding into the regional associations. For example, the Women in Maritime Philippines Association (WIMAPHIL) has taken action to promote maritime safety through its "WIMA on Watch" (WOW) programme; supported women seafarers through the "She to Sea" Campaign and signed an MoU with the Filipino Association for Mariners' Employment (FAME). WIMAPHIL has also supported WIMA Asia on "Green shipping" and "Promoting women's advocacy for domestic ferry safety".

Meanwhile, the World Maritime University Women's Association (WMUWA) is actively collaborating with regional networks, notably with PacWIMA, WIMA Asia, and WiMAC.

IMO is currently developing the gender maritime education and training programme (GENMET), to include education and training material based on the principles and targets of UN SDG 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Regional presence success
The success of the regional presence scheme, with IMO Regional Presence Officers in Africa and East Asia and the Regional Maritime Adviser in the Caribbean, was recognized. The Committee expressed its appreciation to the host countries of the IMO Regional Presence Offices (Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, the Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago) for their financial and in-kind contributions to support the scheme, which had been shown to be very effective in supporting the delivery of the integrated technical cooperation programme activities and in supporting Member States in their efforts towards becoming parties to and implementing IMO instruments.

It was noted that review and possible expansion of the scheme could be considered at a later date, in the context of discussions relating to linking IMO’s work and its technical cooperation activities with the UN sustainable development goals.

Meanwhile, the Committee agreed to ring-fence provision in the 2018-2019 Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme budget for the IMO partner in the Pacific region, the Pacific Community (SPC), to hire and employ one professional. This person would be utilized by the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) for the delivery of IMO's technical assistance programme in the region.

Training package for national maritime transport policy nearing completion
The Committee was informed that a new training package for the development, adoption and updating national maritime transport policies was nearing completion, following a series of pilot regional workshops and seminars around the world. The package is being developed in conjunction with the World Maritime University (WMU).

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 seen as 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.

The IMO Secretariat urged countries who have adopted a national maritime transport policy to provide a copy to the Secretariat, in order to share these policies with Member States who are in the process of developing such a policy.

Updating of country maritime profiles
The Committee noted that just over half of IMO Member states had populated their country maritime profiles with data and statistics relating to their maritime activities. Country maritime profiles are seen as a means to capture and reflect the maritime profile and needs of individual States. However, the Committee acknowledged there was currently a lack of consistency, which the Secretariat and countries needed to address. 

Successful year in 2015
During 2015, 235 technical cooperation activities were delivered, ranging from advisory and needs assessment missions and national and regional training courses through to the development of model legislation, review and updating of training packages, and meetings of heads of maritime administrations.

Some 3,370 people worldwide completed training activities and a further 71 completed fellowships in the maritime field, while 1,079 officials attended events aimed at developing and harmonizing regional strategies on maritime technical matters.

Funding costs amounted to some US$13 million, with half of this coming from IMO’s Technical Cooperation Fund. On top of this, non-financial contributions contributed greatly to the overall success in the delivery of activities.

Impact assessment shows positive results
The meeting consider the report of the Impact Assessment Exercise (covering the 2012-2015), which looks at the impact of capacity-building exercises on, and their relevance to, the needs of beneficiary countries. Overall, the report showed positive outcomes.

In assessing training evaluations, 84 % of the trainees felt that the objectives of the training activity were met while 89% believe they will be able to use the information they have gained during the training when they return to their work. Ex-post evaluation data reveal that 25% of participants had a positive impact on the post of the trainees, 96% felt the training activity improved the quality of the performance, 88% were able to transfer the knowledge, 80 % applied their new skills and 67% were able to take new action; all of which indicate a high level of impact of the integrated technical cooperation programme.

Generally, the Impact Assessment recommended further investment in technological solutions (such as online and multimedia material), enriching its content and activities, reaching out more to governments, networks, maritime professionals, and other UN agencies, and devising an improved monitoring and evaluation system.

The Committee agreed to consider the recommendations in detail in an intersessional working group. 

IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) under way
The Committee received an update on the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS), noting that 16 of the planned 19 mandatory audits scheduled for this year had already been completed, with preparatory work underway for the 23 audits scheduled for 2017.

All 19 Member States being audited in 2016 had consented for their audit executive summary reports, corrective action plans and future comments on the implementation of their plans to be made available to all Member States via the IMO shipping information system module.  This is expected to assist the membership in future technical cooperation planning.