Technical Co-operation Committee, 63rd session, 10 to 12 July 2013 (opening address)

(10 to 12 July 2013)

Good morning, distinguished delegates and observers.
On behalf of the Secretary-General, I welcome all participants to the sixty-third session of the Technical Co-operation Committee.  The Secretary-General is currently away but he will join you for the afternoon session.
The Secretary-General has taken a number of initiatives in the current Review and Reform process.  In June of last year, the Secretary-General first reported to the Council that his aim was to improve IMO's delivery mechanism to handle the ever-increasing workload as the Organization seeks to address newly emerging priorities.  He has provided a report on the Organization’s long-term financial sustainability and he has undertaken a number of other initiatives in the Secretariat to address issues such as staffing, outsourcing, new ways of employing modern technology and forward planning.  All this is aimed at managing limited resources by delivering the same – or more – with less.  Inevitably, some sacrifices will have to be made by both the Secretariat and the Membership as we seek economies and new ways of working in the future.  I very much hope that Member Governments will see this as an opportunity to make our mode of operation at IMO more efficient. 
Distinguished delegates,
There are many challenging issues to be addressed in the area of capacity building, and the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships is one of them. The Organization has continued to work to meet this challenge and our efforts are very much in conjunction with IMO’s many partner organizations in the United Nations and elsewhere.  
The Secretary-General was encouraged by the reduction in the number of ships and crew now being held off the coast of Somalia, but we cannot afford to be complacent, and, regrettably, there has been no improvement in the piracy situation off the coasts of west and central Africa, which continues to pose a threat to shipping, potentially endangering the region’s maritime development. 
For a number of years IMO has actively taken steps to assist countries in the region to develop their national maritime security capabilities and, most recently, has assisted ECCAS, ECOWAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission to develop a new “Code of Conduct concerning the prevention of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa”.  The Code was adopted formally by the Heads of State meeting in Yaoundé, Cameroon, two weeks ago (25 June), attended by 13 Heads of State from west and central African countries and was signed immediately afterwards by Ministers of Foreign Affairs or other delegates, bringing it into effect for 22 signatory States in the region.    Significantly, it incorporates many elements of the successful Djibouti Code of Conduct and also of the existing Memorandum of Understanding on the integrated coastguard function network in west and central Africa. 
The presence of so many Heads of State at a maritime security-related meeting represents a significant step forward and underscores that maritime zone security is fundamentally important to African maritime development.  The Secretary-General has therefore established a new, multi-donor trust fund to support the implementation of IMO projects for maritime security capacity building in West and Central Africa and he urges Member States, as well as the industry, to make contributions to it. Meanwhile, the Secretary-General has already written a personal letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting his support and co-operation within the United Nations system.
Distinguished delegates,
At this session, you are expected to review the delivery of ITCP activities during 2012, including those delivered under global programmes on the linkage between the ITCP and the Millennium Development Goals; the implementation of the IMO Member State Audit Scheme; the integration of women in the maritime sector; sustainable financing; and progress on partnership arrangements. 
You will also be invited to address:
• approval of the ITCP for 2014-2015;
• approval of funding allocation from the TC Fund to the ITCP for 2014-2015;
• approval of the country maritime profile template; and
• approval of planned outputs for 2014-2015.
As regards the delivery of ITCP activities, I am pleased to note that, during 2012, 33 advisory and needs assessment missions were organized, as well as 118 national and regional training courses.  Some 2,935 persons were trained and a further 1,262 government strategy officials attended ITCP meetings aimed at developing and harmonizing regional strategies on maritime technical issues.  Some US$17.3 million was spent against the programmed donor contribution budget of US$21.2 million – this is the highest level ever recorded for IMO’s delivery of financial resources for technical co-operation.
I am also pleased to note that, since your last session in June 2012, a total amount of some US$6.5 million has been contributed to the ITCP through six multi-donor trust funds and other financial arrangements, while cash donations made to specific activities totalled over a quarter million US dollars (US$253,569).  In addition, 16 new partnership arrangements have been established since TC 62, bringing the total number of partnerships to date to 73.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of IMO's capacity-building and gender programme for women in the maritime sector, a video entitled "Women at the Helm" was produced by IMO's Public Information Services, in collaboration with the Technical Co-operation Division, highlighting first-hand experiences from women with a positive story to tell.
Turning now to the items requiring decisions by the Committee, I wish to highlight the new ITCP for 2014-2015.  In order to promote its effectiveness, changes have been made to its structure.  The intention has been twofold: to reduce thematic priorities established by various IMO Committees, and to develop more national (as opposed to regional) events in order to address better the real needs of individual developing countries.  Due to increasing requests for technical assistance, the funding requirements of the ITCP during 2014-2015 will have to increase to over US$25 million (US$25,223,000), which is some 5 per cent increase compared to the funding requirements of the ITCP in the current biennium. 
The proposal by the Secretary-General to the Committee is to allocate, based on the current budgetary projections, £10 million to support delivery of core activities of the ITCP in the next biennium.  This is the same level as the current biennium’s ITCP allocation of £9.94 million.  However, in US dollar terms, the £9.94 million allocation for the next biennium will decrease by 5.5 per cent due to the difference in the exchange rate assumed (i.e. it will decrease from -US$16.4 million for 2012-2013 to US$15.5 million for 2014-2015).  Therefore, if we are to deliver the ITCP for 2014-2015 in its entirety, it is evident that more work will need to be done to secure external funding.  Maintaining sufficient resources is a priority concern for us, so the Secretary-General has tasked a cross-divisional resource mobilization team in the Secretariat to develop a framework strategy to provide direction on how IMO may be able to secure long-term and sustainable funding from diverse sources in order to support ITCP activities for the uniform implementation of IMO instruments.
Turning now to the Secretary-General’s initiative for the review and reform of our approach to technical co-operation, at the request of TC 62, changes have been made to the draft template of the country maritime profile for approval by the Committee at this session.  In order to facilitate the improvement of the template, the view of the Secretary-General was shared with heads of Maritime Administrations at several regional meetings.  Pilot countries have been identified to trial the use of the draft template and 42 countries have now submitted country maritime profile information, demonstrating a very encouraging support for this initiative.  A new module is now also being developed under the IMO GISIS database to enable Member States to input their country maritime data directly.

Before I conclude, allow me to briefly update you on the public consultation initiated by the Council to reduce unnecessary, disproportionate or obsolete administrative burdens in regulatory requirements under mandatory IMO instruments.  The consultation was launched at the start of May through a dedicated IMO website and IMO encourages everyone with an interest or experience to have his or her say.  Comments can be submitted until 31 0ctober of this year.  We hope for a large amount of responses, generating many ideas how we can make regulations better in the interests of more efficient shipping and improved resource management and cost control.
I also wish to inform you that since your last session, Mr. Dallas Eric Laryea and Ms Josephine Uranza have joined the Secretariat as the new Regional Coordinators for, respectively, west and central Africa (Anglophone) and east Asia.  I am sure you will join me in welcoming them both.
Madam Chairman, distinguished delegates,
This year marks a number of significant anniversaries – 40 years since the adoption of MARPOL, 30 years since the establishment of the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, and it is also 30 years since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened our IMO Headquarters building on 17 May 1983.  As you may have noticed, a commemorative plaque, in the form of the IMO emblem, adorns the podium wall in front of you.  It is made of Chilean copper and is a most generous and much appreciated gift of the Government of Chile. 
Today, at 4 p.m., IMO will be hosting a special celebration here in the Headquarters to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the WMU, which was established in 1983, in partnership with the Government of Sweden.  Given the invaluable contribution the University has made to human resources development in developing countries and throughout the global shipping industry, I believe it is fitting to celebrate this milestone in its history and to showcase its past achievements as well as its future plans.  The Secretary-General would therefore be especially pleased to welcome you all to the celebration event here in the Main Hall, later this afternoon, followed by a reception in the Delegates’ Lounge.
And while you are here this week, I would suggest that you visit our beautiful new, interactive display on Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas on the second floor, just outside the Committee rooms.  It showcases IMO’s important and successful work in protecting the health of the oceans, thanks to the generous financial and other support of a number of Member Governments.  In addition, you will have noticed a beautiful gift from Turkey, the Piri Reis - a pre modern map compiled in 1513, which tells us about Turkey’s contribution to the activity of mankind in the maritime field from very early days of navigation.  The map is located just outside this hall.
Distinguished delegates,
It now remains for me to hand over to the Chairman, Ms Nancy Karigithu of Kenya.  The Committee has only three days to complete a challenging agenda.  However, I am confident that you will achieve your task in the usual spirit of co-operation and with the unfailing support of the Secretariat.
I wish you every success.  Thank you.