Technical Cooperation Committee, 66th session, 10-12 October 2016 (opening address)


10 to 12 October 2016

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning distinguished delegates and observers. A special welcome to those of you who may be attending this Committee for the first time.

It is a pleasure for me to address the Committee for the first time in my capacity as Secretary General and, this evening, I should like to invite you all to a welcome cocktail, which I shall be hosting in the Delegates’ Lounge, immediately following the close of the session.

As this is the first IMO Committee meeting since the entry into force threshold of the Ballast Water Management Convention, 2004, was achieved, it would be amiss of me not to highlight this important development related to this Organization’s work in the field of the protection of the marine environment. I have no doubt that IMO’s technical cooperation work was key to achieving the required ratifications for the entry into force of the Convention.

As you are aware, ten days ago, we celebrated this year’s World Maritime Day, here at the Headquarters, with the theme: Shipping: Indispensable to the world and hosted a World Maritime Day Forum that highlighted the critical link between maritime transport and the theme of the Day. Similarly a number of Member States celebrated or will celebrate the World Maritime Day in their various countries with maritime related activities to signify the importance of shipping to the world economy.

This year’s World Maritime Day Parallel event will be hosted by Turkey in November, and I look forward to seeing many of you in Istanbul during that event.

As you may be aware, the 116th session of the Council endorsed my proposed theme for the 2017 World Maritime Day, which is, “Connecting Ships, Ports and People.”  At the core of this “connection” is technical assistance and capacity building which are central to the work of your Committee.

Distinguished delegates,

As I have mentioned on previous occasions, and in keeping with my vision of "A Voyage Together,” implementation and communication are areas central to my priorities as Secretary-General. I wish to focus the future of the Organization on uniform implementation but also on facilitating communication and understanding among Member States, the shipping industry and shore-based parties that have a stake in maritime transport. In order to do this, we must emphasise the interplay between ships, ports and people and increase our efforts on effective capacity building, while continuing the vital and necessary function of rule-making.

Your Committee’s work this week, is therefore a continuation and reinforcement of IMO’s work in the area of human development and institutional capacity-building, particularly for developing countries. Your agenda items for this session, attest to the important role of your Committee in propagating the indispensability of shipping to the world.

Distinguished delegates,

At this session, you are expected to consider for adoption, the ITCP Annual report for 2015, which records the results of implementation for the second year of the 2014-2015 biennium. The aggregates for 2015, indicated that 235 activities were delivered out of a total of 307 activities programmed for the year with a delivery rate of 77%. This is a marginal percentage increase from the delivery in 2014. Of the activities delivered in 2015, 29 were advisory and needs assessment missions, 115 were national and regional training courses. Other activities included model legislation, review and updating of training packages, and meetings of heads of maritime administrations. In terms of financial delivery, during 2015, some $13 million was delivered against programmed donor contributions of $16.7 million, representing a delivery rate of 78%. This result was made possible through careful planning and efficient budgetary allocation involving flexible arrangements to transfer funds between programmes backed up by enhanced monitoring.

Another important agenda item for your Committee this week, is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Linkage between the ITCP and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  At your last session, your Committee considered activities the Secretariat had undertaken and implemented in relation to the five Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) relevant to the ITCP.

Your Committee also noted information presented to it on the end date of the MDGs, which was December 2015 and the Secretariat’s preparedness to commence work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda. With the adoption on 25 September 2015 of the UN Resolution on “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” IMO, through inter alia your Committee needs to align its work with the 17 SDGs relevant to its mandate.  You will therefore be expected to consider and discuss the possible linkage between the SDGs and the ITCP and IMO’s work with a view to formulating a draft Assembly resolution for consideration at the thirtieth session of the Assembly in November 2017.

An equally important agenda for your Committee, is the report of the Impact Assessment Exercise which covered the four-year period from 2012 to 2015.  As you are aware, the exercise is conducted every four years with a view to ascertaining both the impact of ITCP activities on, and their relevance to, the needs of beneficiary countries. As recommended by the External Auditors, in their audit of 2014, this 5th Impact Assessment Exercise was managed independently by the Internal Oversight and Ethics Office and was carried out by independent and external consultants. The Consultants’ Findings and Conclusions are summed up under 4 headings, namely: Effectiveness, Outcome, Relevance and Sustainability of the ITCP during the period under review. I believe that your Committee will devote time to the Impact Assessment Exercise report and take action as may be appropriate and in the context of the future technical assistance work, especially in areas that may need improvements.

Distinguished delegates,

At your last session, you were provided with information on the Secretariat’s plans to enhance assistance to Member States in the development of National Maritime Transport Policy. It is pleasing to note that a training package for the programme has been developed by the Secretariat in collaboration with the World Maritime University (WMU). Moreover, the delivery of related training events through a pilot project, rolled out in October 2015, is progressing well and improvements to the training package are ongoing. It is the firm belief of the Secretariat that the capacity building on Maritime Transport Policy will enhance good governance practices and form an important input to the broader development of national integrated maritime policy and implementation of the relevant SDGs.

Your agenda for this session is quite full as you will be considering and taking decisions on a number of subject matters, including Sustainable financing of the ITCP, Country Maritime Profiles, Partnerships, IMO Regional Presence and coordination, IMSAS, Strengthening the impact of women in the maritime sector, global maritime training institutions, and a few other equally important items.

IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme has been guided and governed by principles which become Assembly resolutions following related recommendations of your Committee. The three key ones were adopted in 1999 and a number of the others which were adopted subsequently up to 2007 included links with the MDGs, which no longer exist. In conjunction with these the approach of IMO with respect to the long-term financing of the ITCP will need to be also reviewed. Furthermore, the decisions of the Committee in response to the findings and conclusions of the Impact Assessment Exercise and any changes I may decide to introduce in the working practices of the Secretariat for improving capacity building have to take account of the way ahead.

The Assembly has made provision for only one three-day session of the Committee next year and it is reasonable to foresee that it will be enough if the Committee were to have before it proposals which stem from a comprehensive preparatory work. As a result, you need to consider what arrangements you will make to progress matters inter-sessionally. It may be tempting to consider leaving completion of the work for the next biennium. However, before making such a decision please bear in mind that the response of IMO to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development is not at the same level as that of other organizations within the UN system and the gap is increasingly getting wider.

Your Chairman, Mr. Zulkurnain Ayub of Malaysia, will as usual steer the ship of your Committee with the active support of his Vice Chairman Mr. Laurent Parente of Vanuatu. I have no doubt that you will all rally round the two presiding officers to deal efficiently with all your agenda items and ensure another successful session of your Committee.

Thank you.