Technical Co-operation Committee (TC) 65th session, 22-24 June 2015 (opening address)


Distinguished delegates, I am pleased to formally welcome you to London for the 65th session of the Technical Cooperation Committee.. The Committee is meeting a few weeks after the inauguration of the new state-of-the-art premises of the World Maritime University (WMU) in Sweden.

WMU is undoubtedly a highpoint of IMO’s capacity-building programme and particularly of its maritime education and training programme, and the largest and most valuable technical cooperation project of the Organization. It was indeed fitting that the move of the University to its new location in the heart of Malmö took place in the year which IMO decided to dedicate its activities to maritime education and training.

WMU has come a long way since its establishment in 1983. Today, it can be regarded as the foremost global maritime training institution, educating and fostering the future leaders and decision makers of the maritime world, thus vindicating the foresight of its Founding Chancellor and former IMO Secretary-General, Dr. Srivastava. Today WMU is at the apex of postgraduate maritime education and its Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy programmes on maritime affairs have been independently well accredited.  This places an even greater responsibility on IMO and the international maritime community, because we all have to ensure that WMU not only maintains the pole position, but that its future financial sustainability is secured. The Secretariat will provide to the Committee the most up-to-date information on our study for the financial sustainability of the University at this session.

The young generations today hold a variety of options when choosing a future career and it is thus not surprising that maritime careers are not as popular as they used to be in the past. It is for this reason that the focus of this year’s Day of the Seafarer which we will be celebrating this Thursday is on maritime education and maritime careers. The objective is to demonstrate the diverse and fulfilling career opportunities which the maritime world offers to young people, both at sea and ashore with a view to inspiring more people to consider pursuing a maritime career. It is in the interest of the maritime industry to promote maritime education and careers as the future of the industry depends on educated and well-trained maritime experts..

It is in this context that I have launched the IMO Maritime Ambassador Scheme to spread the word among young people about career prospects in the seafaring and maritime professions. I invite you all to encourage your Governments to become directly involved by identifying and appointing IMO Maritime Ambassadors who will carry out or support suitable promotional activities, such as school visits, maritime-themed essay competitions and other creative promotional activities for young people.

Distinguished delegates, apart from the positive developments related to WMU, since the last session of your Committee, significant progress has been made by IMO in a number of priority areas of the Organization’s mission. In particular, the IMO Conference on the enhancement of safety of ships carrying passengers on non international voyages, was organised last April in Manila, the Philippines. The Conference was hosted by the Government of the Philippines and I appreciate it very much. You may recall, immediately after the tragic accident of domestic passenger ship Sewol in April last year, I declared that the time had come for IMO to step forward to improve the safety of passenger ships in domestic navigation.

The Conference in Manila adopted Guidelines on the safe operation of coastal and inter-island passenger ships not engaged in international voyages. These guidelines are aimed at enhancing the operational safety of domestic ferries with a view to reducing the mounting toll of accidents and the consequent loss of life. The Conference also adopted the "Manila Statement," which acknowledged the urgent need to enhance the safety of ships carrying passengers on non-international voyages and urged States to review and update national regulations in relation to their passenger ferries and to apply the guidelines.

Distinguished delegates, the issue of unsafe mixed migration by sea continues to dominate our news bulletins. The problem is no longer restricted to the Mediterranean Sea. This is a global issue and in particular, it is an issue in Southeast Asia. With the objective of strengthening cooperation and finding ways for better managing this complex problem and to ensure stronger collaborations among UN agencies, in March this year, I convened a High-level United Nations inter-agency meeting on Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea here at IMO Headquarters. Whilst the issue and the present situation remains a very serious concern to IMO, this Organization cannot solve the problem alone and there was unanimous agreement at the High level meeting that tackling this serious issue requires strengthened collaboration and better coordination of activities between the relevant UN agencies. This notwithstanding, IMO is following up the outcome of the High-level meeting with a view to taking any relevant action which is deemed necessary in relation to this issue and its resulting consequences.

You may be aware that the Legal Committee discussed the matter, as did the Maritime Safety Committee at a special session, and MSC decided to establish a specific agenda item on unsafe mixed migration at its next session and instructed the NCSR Sub-Committee to commence its work related to the search and rescue operation at its next session.

Distinguished delegates, these are my last opening remarks at TCC, as my tenure will conclude at the end of 2015. When I assumed my duties as Secretary-General in 2012, I had initiated a review and reform of all aspects of the activities of this Organization, including technical cooperation with a view to ensuring a more targeted approach more closely aligned to the real needs of developing countries. I had then identified two useful tools to achieve this objective, namely, the development of Country Maritime Profiles (CMPs) as a mechanism for capturing a country’s real needs for technical cooperation in the maritime sector, and the concept of providing assistance to developing countries in the formulation of national maritime transportation policies (NMTPs). I note with satisfaction that IMO has already made considerable progress on these two fronts as evidenced by the respective documents (TC 65/6(a) and TC 65/6(b)) which will be considered by your Committee.

CMPs are today one of the available tools to identify the real technical assistance needs of developing countries and although still being refined, for the first time, the planning of the ITCP has been based, as much as practicable, on the data made available in CMPs. Recognizing the potential of the formation of NMTPs as a strategic planning and implementation platform for an efficient, effective and sustainable maritime sector, IMO is ensuring the development of relevant training packages and later this year will roll out a pilot technical cooperation project aimed at promoting the importance of such policies and facilitating their preparation.

Another initiative that I took soon after I assumed the office as IMO Secretary-General was the convening of the Conference on Capacity Building to Counter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, to which all relevant UN agencies and the European Union (EU) were invited. Several tangible outcomes emerging from this Conference were implemented and, in this regard, I am looking forward to the inauguration of the Djibouti Regional Training Centre (DRTC) in Djibouti, scheduled for November 2015. The Centre, envisaged as a vital component in the provision of security training in the East African region, is being built by the Government of Djibouti with funds provided by IMO and primarily donated by the Government of Japan.

In order to complete the construction of the Centre in October this year, I have provided further resources to help the Djibouti Government finalize the work on time. Unless we inaugurate the Centre in time, we cannot start maritime security training at the Centre. Taking this opportunity of highlighting the importance of maritime security training, I would like to urge the Government of Djibouti to redouble their effort in successfully finalizing the project of establishing a regional training centre on time. I will give my maximum effort to help the Government of Djibouti for the planned opening of the Centre this year.

Another major priority of my tenure was the promotion of sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development. During the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in 2012, in Brazil, IMO highlighted its contribution and that of the shipping industry to sustainable maritime development. Moreover, in line with the global process to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched at Rio+20, IMO developed a concept of a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System and even dedicated the theme for the 2013 World Maritime Day to sustainable shipping. In order to ensure that the development of the maritime transportation system is itself sustainable, the Concept identified a number of Sustainable Maritime Development Goals (SMDGs) that IMO, in partnership with others, could aspire to in order to establish a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System. The identified goals will no doubt be useful when aligning IMO’s work, including the ITCP, to the Post-2015 Development Agenda that is expected to be adopted at the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015.

During this session, you will be considering the annual report for 2014 on the delivery of the ITCP which provides an overview of the activities delivered during that year. Some 213 ITCP activities were delivered in 2014 whilst some 3,402 persons worldwide were trained through ITCP-funded national and regional training events.

This session will also be considering the proposed ITCP for the 2016-2017 biennium and the Technical Cooperation Fund allocation for the same period. In line with the recommendations of the Impact Assessment Exercise, the proposed ITCP for 2016 2017 contains a limited number of priority TC themes to ensure that the regional coverage can be targeted more effectively. Although the ITCP is essentially regionally based, in line with past practice, the proposed ITCP for the next biennium also contains a global programme consisting of eight components aimed at responding to specific requirements, new challenges and emerging issues such as, for example, support to special shipping needs, formulation of NMTPs, maritime security, ships energy efficiency measures, and IMSAS.

The proposed 2016-2017 ITCP is estimated at some US$24.1 million and considering that the TC Fund allocation for the biennium amounts to US$15 million, IMO will have to mobilise some US$9.1 million in external resources. I would thus like to appeal for external donor contributions, in the form of financial or in kind support, to assist the Organization in funding the proposed entire 2016 2017 ITCP and to be able to respond effectively to the envisaged increase in technical assistance requests primarily as a result of the mandatory implementation of IMSAS in 2016.

Other important issues on your Committee’s agenda include sustainable financing of the ITCP, linkage between the ITCP and the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, partnerships, IMSAS, the impact of women in the maritime sector, and global maritime training institutions.

Distinguished delegates,

The Secretariat will do its best to support both the Chairman and the work of the Committee.

And in concluding, I would like to invite you all to join, the usual cocktail reception at the end of today's session.

Thank you.