Technical Co-operation Committee (TC), 62nd session: 6-8 June 2012

Demonstration project to show role of maritime transport in poverty reduction gets go ahead

Terms of reference to establish a demonstration project aimed at showing the potential role of maritime transport in the reduction of poverty were approved by IMO’s Technical Co-operation Committee (TCC), when it met for its 62nd session.

The idea behind the project is to establish how, using maritime trade facilitation as a mechanism, IMO’s programme of technical co-operation and assistance can contribute to the achievement of the principal Millennium Development Goal (MDG) identified by the United Nations: MDG 1 “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger”.

The terms of reference outline several stages leading to the evaluation of a pilot project which could show the value of maritime transport development in reducing poverty, particularly in least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing States SIDS) and Land Locked Countries (LLCs), through improved trade facilitation processes and procedures, thus contributing to poverty reduction (MDG 1) in the country(ies) and region of demonstration.

The first step will be to identify a country or region which would meet criteria for a pilot project.  Following this, the project would look at:

  • identifying all barriers in the country of demonstration (administrative, human, cost and infrastructure) impeding the simplification, harmonization of procedures and smooth flow of international trade (in the maritime domain);
  • identifying current trade facilitation procedures and associated costs in the country of demonstration;

  • identifying best practice and cost effective procedures in the  country of demonstration;

  • carrying out a gap-analysis; and

  • producing recommendations on what needs to be improved ("early harvest") to  enhance cost effectiveness; smooth flow of goods and priorities, taking into account the outcome of the earlier work. 

Cooperation with other relevant organizations, including UN agencies, is envisaged. 

The Committee agreed the preliminary work should begin immediately, through needs assessment missions and possible sourcing for donor funding for larger scale projects.

Secretary-General’s review and reform initiative on technical co-operation gains huge support
The Committee supported the Secretary-General’s initiative to adopt a more targeted approach towards addressing the real needs of developing countries when planning technical co-operation activities and agreed that country profiles, as proposed by the Secretary-General, should be useful tool to identify capacity-building needs and to ensure effective delivery of IMO’s Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme (ITCP).

Further, the Committee agreed with the Secretary-General that assistance from IMO in the formulation of national maritime transport strategy and policy should be strengthened in order to provide a springboard for the development of maritime clusters in developing countries.

Support for Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) continues
Meanwhile, the Committee noted that IMO’s technical c-operation programme continued to support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Activities related to the implementation of search and rescue (SAR) and Global Maritime Distress and Safety (GMDSS) systems, the safety of non-SOLAS vessels, the protection of the marine environment and improvement in partnerships arrangements, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases’, and promotion of gender equality in the maritime sector, all contributed to the MDGs.

US$15.47 million spent on IMO’s technical co-operation activities in 2011
The Committee adopted its report on the implementation of the Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme (ITCP) for the 2010-2011 biennium, noting that the total expenditure on technical co operation activities in 2011 reached US$15.47 million, the highest level of annual expenditure on IMO's technical co operation ever recorded and representing a delivery rate of 87 per cent of the resources programmed for that year.

Funding came from 23 different sources, with the Organization’s Technical Co-operation Fund accounting for US$7.38 million in 2011, representing 48 per cent of the total spend. There was also additional input in the form of non-financial contributions (in-kind donations, experts provided, for example) which contributed to the overall success in delivery of the ITCP activities.
During the two-year period (2010-2011) more than 350 activities were successfully delivered, including 45 advisory missions and assignments; and 180 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 4,340 persons.  In addition, some 2,940 officials attended events aimed at developing and harmonizing regional strategies on maritime technical matters.

Sustainable financing
The Committee expressed its appreciation to all donors who had made contributions to IMO's technical co-operation activities through various arrangements, noting that since 1 June 2011, some US$7.3 million had been contributed to the multi-donor trust funds and financial arrangements held by IMO, and that one-off cash donations to specific ITCP activities amounted to US$415,657.

There are currently 19 financial arrangements in operation, 10 of which had been established with government agencies of Canada, Egypt, Italy, Norway, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States and the rest with international and regional organizations and industry. 

There are six multi-donor trust funds: the International Maritime Security Trust Fund, the International Search and Rescue Fund, the International Ship Recycling Trust Fund, the IMO Malacca and Singapore Straits Trust Fund, the IMO Djibouti Code of Conduct Trust Fund and the London Convention/Protocol TC Trust Fund.

A new multi-donor trust fund for technical assistance activities related to the promotion of energy efficiency measures in shipping is also being established.

Furthermore, following IMO's inclusion in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list, financial support had been provided by the Republic of Korea through its Official Development Assistance (ODA) budgetary allocations for two environmental projects.  Member States of the OECD, international and regional organizations were urged to make financial contributions to the ITCP through their ODA budgetary allocations.

IMO Regional presence success continues
The Committee was updated on the progress made towards delivering technical assistance through the regional presence scheme in Africa and east Asia (hosted in (Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya and the Philippines), and through the Regional Maritime Adviser (RMA) in the Caribbean (based in Trinidad and Tobago).

Major achievements delivered by IMO's Regional Coordinators and the Regional Maritime Adviser for the Caribbean during 2011, included the implementation of 26 national/regional ITCP activities, the facilitation of 30 national/regional workshops, the representation of IMO at 29 national or regional meetings, conferences and workshops and the completion of 46 advisory missions to Member States.

The Committee also noted that 75 partnerships were currently in operation for the delivery of technical co operation activities, 43 of which had been concluded with developing and developed countries as well as dependent territories and 32 with international organizations, regional institutions and the industry.  These partnerships have made a significant contribution to the effective delivery of ITCP activities.

The six most recently signed partnerships included: a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Black Sea Commission for the management and execution of ITCP activities dealing with marine pollution prevention and response for the benefit of Black Sea littoral States; a Joint Declaration signed with the European Union for the establishment of a new partnership agreement to counter maritime piracy and armed robbery in the Western Indian Ocean; and four new strategic partnerships were established between IMO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Political Office for Somalia and the World Food Programme, as part of their joint commitment to combat piracy in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

Following the Committee meeting, on 12 June, a further MoU was concluded with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in support of technical capacity-building.

Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme update
The Committee was updated on the training programme for auditors for the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS), noting that a total of 410 individuals from 146 countries had been trained through 28 regional courses/workshops, four of which were delivered in 2011. In addition, two regional training courses for auditors and three regional workshops for maritime administrators were scheduled for delivery during 2012.

The audit scheme is being institutionalized into a mandatory scheme, and a revised Code for the implementation of mandatory IMO instruments, now renamed "IMO Instruments Implementation Code" (III Code), has been finalized for approval by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) later in 2012, and for subsequent submission to the twenty eighth session of the Assembly in 2013.