Technical Cooperation Committee, 67th session, 17-19 July (opening address)


(17 to 19 July 2017)

Thank you, Mr Chair,

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to you all and welcome to the sixty-seventh session of the Committee. For those of you who may be attending this Committee for the first time I hope you will find the proceedings interesting and rewarding.

The work of the Committee is an important manifestation of the Organization’s desire to ensure all Member States are prepared to deliver on its objectives, which in term will support the development aspirations of the global maritime community. In this vain, I wish to acknowledged the successful work carried out by the Intersessional Working Group on Technical Cooperation and the Sustainable Development Goals, established by your Committee at its sixty-sixth session. The Group met from 3 to 5 May this year and its draft report will be presented to this session of your Committee for consideration.

To set the tune for your deliberations, I would like to touch upon a few of the many important outcomes of the Group’s work, which included the linkage between IMO’s technical assistance work and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Group identified 8 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as most relevant and linked to the Organization’s technical assistance work. Furthermore, the Group worked on linking the SDGs and the Organization’s Strategic Directions. It further identified that Strategic Direction 1 (SD 1) on Implementation of IMO instruments is the most critical Strategic Direction, which is also the primary area of the work of your Committee. 

As you are well aware, the Organization has been exploring alternative sources of funding for the ITCP. To this end, the Group deliberated on further strategies towards the achievement of a sustainable financing of the ITCP.  Following from the varied work of the Group, three important draft Assembly Resolutions will be presented for your Committee’s consideration and approval. The draft resolutions are: “The Linkage between IMO’s Technical Assistance Work and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “; Guiding Principles of IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme in support of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development; and “Financing and Partnership Arrangements for an Effective and Sustainable Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme.” These resolutions are important supporting documents for the work of the Organization and in the delivery of technical assistance, which falls under the purview of this Committee. I strongly believe that your Committee will review the work of the Group and make further progress on the subject matter including approval of the draft Assembly resolutions.

Now turning to the wider Organizational matters. As you are aware, this year’s World Maritime Day theme is centred on “Connecting Ships, Ports and People” and focuses on helping Member States to develop and implement maritime strategies to invest in a joined-up, interagency approach that addresses a wide range of issues. These issues include, the facilitation of maritime transport, increasing efficiency, navigational safety, protection of the marine environment and maritime security. These are contributory factors to building on the long standing effort of Member States towards the achievement of the Organization’s objectives.

It is also important to emphasize that this year’s theme is directly linked to ocean governance which is underpinned by our policies that are focused on improving the safety of life at sea, ensuring the protection of the marine environment and contributing to sustainable development, as well as our interaction with other relevant stakeholders. This year’s World Maritime Day will be celebrated on 28 September, with the Parallel event being held in Panama from 1 to 3 October 2017. It will be fitting to support Panama with your presence at this event.

Distinguished delegates,

The broader challenge that the global community is increasingly facing is how to ensure that growth is achieved in a sustainable manner. In this regard, and beyond its traditional regulatory function, how does IMO fit into this broader picture through its work? As part of the United Nations family, IMO is actively supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that world leaders pledged to support.

In furtherance of the foregoing, I am pleased to inform your Committee that last month I led an IMO delegation to the United Nations Ocean Conference, which took place at the UN Headquarters in New York, jointly organized by the United Nations, and the Governments of Sweden and Fiji. Against the background of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, in particular, Sustainable Development Goal number 14, the Conference addressed challenges and opportunities for ocean sustainability. The outcome of that Conference was the adoption of a declaration on Our Ocean, our Future: call for action. The declaration is expected to be formally adopted as a resolution by the 71st UN General Assembly.

In the coming years, therefore, IMO and indeed your Committee will deliberate on relevant programmes and activities aimed at supporting the declaration, in collaboration with other relevant UN agencies in the spirit of “delivering as one.”

Distinguished delegates,

You have quite a busy agenda for this session, with some 50 documents under the 16 items on your agenda. This goes to show that you will be extremely busy over the next few days to ensure that this session is not only productive but successful as well.

At this session you are expected to review the Annual report of 2016 on the delivery of the ITCP, including those activities delivered under the global programmes. During 2016, some 237 ITCP activities were delivered, which included about 2,920 persons trained worldwide through national and regional training activities. In addition, 72 fellows completed fellowships in the maritime field including 22 fellows who qualified through the IMO global maritime training institutions of WMU and IMLI, almost double the number who were trained in 2015.

Over the years, many technical assistance missions have been fielded to build capacities for the implementation of the International Convention on Ballast Water Management which was adopted in 2004. I am pleased to inform you that that Convention is set to enter into force on 8 September this year. So far 61 States have become parties to the BWM Convention, representing 68.46% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage. This is a significant achievement for the Organization and I have no doubt that technical cooperation work contributed to this key milestone.

The ITCP for 2018-2019, which you will consider has been prepared by the Secretariat on the basis of the programme-building directives previously approved by your Committee and in line with the approved Strategic Plan for the Organization, relevant Assembly resolutions and taking into account comments and recommendations made by the Intersessional Working Group I referred to earlier. Although the ITCP is essentially regionally based, in line with past practice, the proposed ITCP contains 10 global programmes to enhance the Organization’s ability to respond to new challenges and emerging issues.  In this regard, in addition to the established global programmes such as those on energy efficiency measures and IMSAS, two new global programmes are being proposed, namely, Support for the Organization’s response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Blue Economy and Support for the implementation of the technical cooperation aspects of IMO’s new Strategic Plan for 2018-2023. The Committee is, therefore, being requested to approve the new ITCP, with a funding requirement of some US$23.9 million, which needs to be secured from IMO’s internal resources and external donations.

I will now turn to the important issue of the Technical Cooperation Fund allocation for the 2018-2019 biennium. Your Committee will observe that the proposed TC fund allocation of £10 million for the next biennium is 13% less than the allocation for the current biennium in US dollar terms, notwithstanding the fact that the British Pound Sterling equivalent is the same as the current biennium. The decrease in value is attributed to the current unfavourable exchange rate between the pound sterling and the United States dollar. Considering that the TC fund allocation for the next biennium amounts to some US$13 million and the proposed 2018-2019 ITCP is estimated at some US$23.9 million. The Organization will have to mobilise some US$10.9 million from external sources.  Of course, I would, as I have always done, appeal for external donor contributions in the form of financial or in-kind support to assist the Organization in funding the proposed entire 2018-2019 ITCP.

Furthermore, your Committee will deliberate on the review and revision of the 2007 Strategy on the long-term financing of the ITCP and explore alternative sources of funding for the ITCP and to avoid over-reliance on the Trading Fund which has continued to dwindle over time. It has therefore become imperative that new streams of funding for the ITCP, in a sustainable manner, should be considered by your Committee. It was against the need to shore-up the Secretariat’s efforts to mobilise additional funds from external sources that I established a new post in TCD of a resource mobilization and partnerships to strengthen our efforts in engaging with donors and other technical cooperation partners in the pursuit of additional resources.

As I said earlier, your agenda for the next two and half days is heavy given that you will also be considering and taking decisions on a number of subject matters including, Amendment to the Rules of Operation of the TC Fund, Amendment of the Rules of Procedure of the Committee and Application of the Committee’s guidelines and a few other equally important items.

I would not like to take too much of your time in my opening remarks so let me conclude by briefly mentioning my decision to appoint Mr. Lawrence Barchue, now in charge of the Member States Audit Scheme and Implementation Support, as Assistant Secretary-General effective from last Friday. Mr. Lawrence Barchue, has a wealth of experience having been a delegate for many years and a valued and trusted member of the senior management of the Organization for almost as long, a few years more in fact. I have every confidence in Lawrence's ability to assist me in the continuous evolution of the Organization over the coming years. I would also like to mention, and welcome, my new Chief of Staff, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez, who begins his duties today. As an extremely capable professional, I am looking forward to his contribution to the work of the Organization, from now on as a member of the Secretariat, we are extremely pleased he has been able to join us. I hope I can count on your ongoing support to my staff in the discharge of their important functions.

Finally, I am convinced that you will, as usual, support your Chair Mr. Zulkurnain Ayub of Malaysia and his able Vice Chair, His Excellency, Mr. Laurent Parente in the conduct of your business at this session. As for the Secretariat, Mr. Juvenal Shiundu, Acting Director of the Technical Cooperation Division and the staff, will discharge their duties and responsibilities in supporting both the Chair and his Vice-Chair in the work of the Committee to the best of their abilities.

I wish you all, every success in your deliberations and look forward to welcoming you to the customary drinks reception after the close of business today.

Thank you.