Technical Cooperation Committee (TC), 69th session, 25-27 June 2019

Empowering women – three decades of IMO's Women in Maritime programme

The Committee marked three decades of IMO's Women in Maritime programme, with the launch of an IMO film, which shows how the gender programme is supporting women and girls to progress within the maritime sector. The programme supports the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 5.  

It was recognized that one of the enduring successes of the programme has been the establishment of seven grass-roots associations across the regions, which drew on the UN principle of implementing from the field-level upwards. The Committee urged all maritime stakeholders to support, both financially and in-kind, the objectives and activities undertaken by the regional Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs) and their national chapters.

The programme has particular resonance this year, since the theme for World Maritime Day 2019 is  "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community", while the Day of Seafarer, celebrated on the first day of the committee session, took the theme of getting on board with gender equality, using the "# I Am On Board" hashtag.

The Committee expressed its appreciation to all donors who provided fellowships to WMU, IMLI, IMSSEA, Institut Portuaire d'Enseignement et de Recherche (IPER) and the Galilee International Management Institute (GIMI). All Member States were requested to support the capacity-building activities of these maritime training institutions, with a view to increasing the number of female graduates.

It was noted that although a great deal of progress had been made, much still needed to be done to plug the gender gap when it came to empowering women through education.

The Committee noted the IMO Secretariat's intention to undertake a study to collect and analyse data on the number of women employed in the maritime sector, a key practical outcome resulting from the 2019 WMD theme. The finalized study, including recommendations, would be submitted to TC 70 (June 2020), for discussion and consideration. 

Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme for 2020-2021 approved

The Committee approved the proposed Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) for the biennium 2020-2021. The allocation of some US$14.6 million from the IMO Technical Cooperation Fund was approved, to support the programme's core activities.

The planned 2020-2021 programme has a strong emphasis on achieving the targets set in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The global programmes cover:  

  1. Technical advisory services - to ensure a flexible funding mechanism for immediate response not only to emergency requests, typically in the case of marine pollution and safety incidents, but also to demands to assist governments with the establishment/upgrading of maritime administrations and legislation, and effective implementation of global maritime standards;
  2. Support to SIDS and LDCs - for their special shipping needs to address the emerging and developmental needs of these Member States with emphasis on the implementation of relevant IMO instruments with a view to fostering the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway as the blueprint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
  3. Women in Maritime programme - (formerly known as SDG 5: Strengthening the maritime sector) to support the empowerment of women as a key resource for the maritime infrastructure of developing countries in line with SDG 5. Gender mainstreaming is enhanced through the IMO network of seven regional associations for women, which, together with their national chapters, offer a springboard for regional training, provide access to specialized training, promoting economic self-reliance and increase employment opportunities for women at the decision-making levels of the port and maritime sectors. This programme also supports gender equality and the empowerment of women through gender specific fellowships by facilitating access to high-level technical training for women in the maritime sector in developing countries;
  4. Capacity Building and Training  - to reinforce national and regional maritime capacities through human resource development, such as provision of fellowships to IMO's global maritime training institutions and other maritime training institutions worldwide and support to WMU and IMLI;
  5. Enhancement of maritime security - to assist and support the efforts of governments and industry towards the enhancement of security in the international maritime transport sector;
  6. IMSAS (IMO Member State Audit Scheme) - to continue providing technical assistance to Member States in their endeavour to prepare for the audit through the delivery of regional training courses for auditors, regional and national workshops, as well as for the participation of observer auditors in audits of Member States; and
  7. Maritime Development and the Blue Economy - a new global programme aimed at supporting the alignment of IMO's technical assistance work with the SDGs and providing assistance to Member States to enhance their abilities to reflect and embed the SDGs in their maritime activities with a view to facilitating the implementation of the SDGs at country level. In this regard, the programme provides assistance in the formulation of national maritime transport policies. This programme also aims to assist Member States to comply with all international regulations and standards addressing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping and improving the energy efficiency of ships. Furthermore, it will provide funding for developing and/or strengthening TC partnership arrangements and finally to ensure the global harmonization and coordination of all port State control inspection regimes.

Besides the global programmes, there are a series of regional programmes aimed at the specific needs within Africa; Arab States and the Mediterranean; Asia; Pacific Islands; Western Asia and Eastern Europe; Latin America; and the Caribbean.

ITCP funding - multi-donor trust funds

The Committee welcomed and thanked donations to fund technical cooperation activities, including nearly US$10 million to IMO's multi-donor trust funds in calendar year 2018.

During the session, the Committee welcomed with appreciation pledges from  Malaysia (US$10,000 for the GHG-TC Trust Fund); Egypt (£50,000 for ITCP, to support environmental protection in African ports); Republic of Korea (US$500,000 for ITCP, in the series of annual contributions  since the signing of the Republic of Korea/IMO MoU in June 2003); United Arab Emirates (US$50,000 for ITCP); and Nigeria (US$50,000 for ITCP activities).

The Committee encouraged Member States, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and industry to continue supporting ITCP activities, through any of the modalities of financial support, thus ensuring the long-term sustainability of the IMO technical cooperation programme.

Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

IMO's work relates to many of the sustainable development Goals (SDGs) in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The new Maritime Development and the Blue Economy global programme is aimed at supporting the alignment of IMO's technical assistance work with the SDGs.

The Committee noted ongoing work to establish the linkages between the SDGs and IMO's Strategic Plan.

The Committee was informed of IMO's support to Member States for the achievement of the SDGs through a wide range of regional and global programmes and  major projects, including the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships, the IMO-European Union GMN Project on Capacity-Building for Climate Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry and GEF-UNDP-IMO GloMEEP Project, as well as through other initiatives such as the Country Maritime Profiles.

The Committee noted the role played by the IMO Regional Presence Offices with regard to the development of some countries' United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which is the main platform for the collaboration of the UN system at country level.

The Committee noted with appreciation the conclusions, recommendations and lessons learned drawn from the pilot IMO regional workshop on UNDAF, which was organized by IMO in collaboration with the Chilean Maritime Authority (DIRECTEMAR), and with the support of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), the United Nations Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDG LAC) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). This pilot project could be considered as a model for developing regional workshops on UNDAF processes, to be replicated in other regions, aiming at enhancing the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Two regional workshops on UNDAF processes are scheduled to be held in Africa and Asia during 2019.

The Committee urged Member States to fully participate in their national UNDAF processes, ensuring that maritime issues were included in the country-wide implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It also encouraged Member States to request the necessary technical assistance in the regional programmes and global programmes to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Cape Town Agreement and relevance to the SDGs

The Committee noted that the IMO Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety was a good example of a tool to support the achievement of multiple SDGs. Improving safety of fishing vessels and decent conditions on board and combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, would contribute to the achievement of SDGs 1, 2, 8 and 14..

The Committee further noted the Cape Town Agreement contribution for empowering women in the maritime community, supporting the achievement of SDG 5. IMO and the Government of Spain are hosting a Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and IUU Fishing which will be held in Torremolinos, Spain (21-23 October 2019). The Conference will be sponsored by IMO's ITCP in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Qualifying Member States were encouraged to request support to attend the conference, which will also have a side event on empowering women in fisheries. 

Country maritime profiles

The Committee approved a revised and restructured module for country maritime profiles on the GISIS database ( a module for Member States to provide national information, including maritime specific data). The country maritime profiles are an important tool in order to help target capacity building activities.

Maritime transport policy development

The Committee noted the successful roll out of training in the development of National Maritime Transport Policies (NMTPs), including a training package developed in collaboration with the World Maritime University and two videos promoting the importance and usefulness of NMTPs for a country's maritime, social and economic development.

The training package which aims at providing beneficiaries with the required knowledge and skills necessary to prepare, review and adopt maritime transport policies, is available in English, French and Spanish and a number of Member States have already benefited from or have requested delivery of NMTP workshops in those languages. The videos are also available with French and Spanish subtitles.

Regional presence scheme

The Committee noted that the regional presence offices had continued to play key roles in supporting the international maritime community at large and had also been effective contributors to the work of the various regional and national associations of women in maritime under the IMO Women in Maritime programme.

Technical cooperation activities delivered under the IMO Regional Presence Scheme in Africa, East Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean in 2018 included some 100 technical cooperation activities and numerous other events, undertaken and coordinated by the Regional Coordinators, the Regional Maritime Adviser and the Technical Cooperation Officer.

The Committee expressed its appreciation to the host countries of IMO regional presence offices, namely Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, the Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as to the Pacific Community (SPC), for supporting the Scheme.

The Committee requested Member States to provide details to the Secretariat on how they benefitted from the Regional Presence Scheme and their views on how best to take it forward.

Successful capacity building in 2018

The Committee was informed that the results of ITCP implementation showed that 196 activities were delivered during 2018. This included, inter alia, the implementation of 13 advisory and needs assessment missions and 123 training courses, seminars and workshops held at the national, regional and global levels.

These training events covered an extensive range of maritime topics and resulted in the training of approximately 3,198 persons worldwide in 2018.

In addition, another 76 fellows completed fellowships in the maritime field, including 36 fellowships at the World Maritime University (WMU) and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI). Another 561 officials attended events aimed at developing and harmonizing regional strategies on maritime technical matters.

World Maritime University

During the session, a new fellowship at WMU was launched - the World Maritime University (WMU)-Koji Sekimizu PhD Fellowship on Maritime Governance. The PhD Fellowship will enable an assessment of the role and impact of maritime governance over the past 60 years. Account will need to be taken of the role of the IMO as well as of relevant United Nations agencies and bodies that have impacted maritime governance.

IMLI – marking 30 years 

The Committee marked 30 years of the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) with a special event, attended by Malta's Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, who spoke of his country's continuing commitment to hosting such an important global institution. 

IMLI's overall mission is to help build the legal capacity among IMO Member States, particularly developing States, to fulfil their obligations under IMO treaties. It provides training in all aspects of international maritime law, as well as in legislative drafting techniques.

Its academic programmes include a Master of Laws in International Maritime Law, a Master of Humanities in International Maritime Legislation, a Master of Philosophy in International Maritime Law and Ocean Policy, and a cooperative Master of Laws in International Maritime Law and Immigration Law with Queen Mary University of London. Since the academic year 2018-2019 was completed, more than 1000 students from 146 States and territories have pursued studies at IMLI.

IMLI is firmly committed to gender equality and to empowering females to become part of the maritime industries. One notable claim to fame is that IMLI has an official policy of reserving 50 per cent of its student places for female candidates. In recent years, the female student population has actually outnumbered the male students.

Speaking at the celebratory ceremony, Secretary-General Lim expressed his sincere gratitude to the Government of Malta, the many donors and other institutions, both public and private, without whose support IMLI's success would not have been possible. At the end of the ceremony, IMLI Director Professor David Attard, received a letter of appreciation and commemorative award, to mark his many years of outstanding service.