Technical Cooperation Committee (TC), 68th session, 18-20 June 2018 (opening address)


18 to 20 June 2018

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I am pleased to welcome you all to the sixty-eighth session of the Technical Cooperation Committee. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome those delegates who may be attending this Committee for the first time. I believe that you will find the proceedings and deliberations of this Committee both interesting and rewarding.

Before we commence proceeding and on a sad note, I would like to express our collective condolence to the Egyptian delegation on the passing-on, yesterday Sunday 17 June 2018 of Dr. Gamal El din Mokhtar of Egypt. Dr. Mokhtar was an integral part of the Technical Cooperation Committee. He attended this Committee for thirty years and served as its Chair for seven consecutive sessions between 1989 and 1994 covering TC 34 to TC 40. Dr Mokhtar supported technical cooperation and assistance in so many ways. He was amongst the proponents of the establishment of the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden and served as a Governor for many years. As President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AAST-MT), he supported IMO in the provision of top level experts for the delivery of technical assistance activities in addition to providing thousands of training opportunities to Arab, African, Asian and European countries. Dr. Mokhtar will be sorely missed.

My I request you to observe a one-minute silence in Dr. Mokhtar’s honour.

I am pleased to inform you that since the last session of this Committee in July 2017, the Organization has welcomed two new Members, namely, Armenia and Nauru, bringing the total membership to 174.

I would first like to briefly address on some matters of importance concerning the work of the Organization.

This is a special year for us as we celebrate 70 years since the IMO Convention was adopted and 60 years since it entered into force.

This year’s World Maritime Day theme, which is "IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future", reflects on the past and looks into the years that lie ahead. The traditional World Maritime Day celebration will be held at IMO Headquarters on 27 September 2018 while this year’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event that took place only last week, was kindly hosted by the Government of Poland, which was an excellent and successful. I would like to thank the Government of Poland for organising and preparing the event. I also would like to thank all participants: Ministers, Excellencies and maritime diplomats from London for their devotion

As some of you may have witnessed, in March, IMO celebrated its 70 years of existence. We were privileged to welcome Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II here at IMO Headquarters. The highlight of Her Majesty’s visit was the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to mark the adoption of the IMO convention. The event was well attended by representatives from the IMO family.

Going forward, we can justifiably be proud of our record of steering the shipping industry through regulation, to being ever safer, greener and cleaner. A number of other events, including the recently held World Maritime Day Forum on "IMO’s role in the future of shipping and international trade" and the special event on Ports, were all part of the activities marking the 70th anniversary.

In line with this, I would like to introduce some recent major developments such as the adoption of the initial IMO GHG strategy at MEPC last April, which will work as a platform for future discussions on short, medium and long term measures with the aim of decarbonizing shipping in the future. I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to all Member States, NGOs, IGOs and the shipping industry for their hard work and constructive contribution.

We also made very good progress on the scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) as last MSC, including endorsing a framework for the exercise as well as the methodology for conducting it and a plan of work. 

Distinguished delegates,

The work of your Committee has been an integral part of the achievements of IMO in the past decades. Your work is even more critical, going forward. With the support of the Secretariat, I am confident that more strides will be made in the years ahead as we Voyage Together.

Turning now to your work for this session, it will be remiss of me not to mention and acknowledge the approval by the Council at its 119th session of three full meeting days with interpretation, which your Committee had requested for against the backdrop of your increasing workload which could no longer be accommodated in a two and a half day meeting. I believe that the additional meeting session would afford your Committee the opportunity to deliberate on substantive agenda items with far reaching decisions for the global maritime community.

In no particular order of priority, I would like to briefly comment on some of the agenda items your Committee will consider during this session. You may recall that in your last session, you deliberated on the review and revision of the 2007 Strategy on the long-term financing of the ITCP and also explored alternative sources of funding for the ITCP so as to avoid over-reliance on the dwindling Trading Fund. The establishment of the post of Head of Resource Mobilization and Partnerships was one of the Secretariat’s efforts to shore up external sources of funding.

At this session, your Committee will consider the Secretariat’s document on the long-term resource mobilization strategy. You will also receive an accompanying presentation on the subject matter. Your Committee will, also, continue the consideration of a proposal on the analysis of the viability of introducing an access fee to GISIS data. You will also be updated on the work undertaken by the Secretariat to enhance assistance to Member States in the development of National Maritime Transport Policies.

Other equally important agenda items lined up for your consideration include the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, partnerships, including the regional presence and coordination, technical cooperation aspect of the IMSAS, review and status of implementation of the recommendations of the 2012-2015 Impact Assessment Exercise, global maritime training institutions as well as the Development of a New Strategic Framework for the Organization for 2018-2023, amongst many other items for your Committee’s consideration. As the common saying goes, your Committee has its work cut-out for the next three days.

Before I conclude my remarks, I would like to inform your Committee of one significant development in the delivery of the ITCP. Following the request of Member States in the Pacific Islands region for the appointment of a dedicated officer to assist in the delivery of technical assistance in the region, your Committee positively considered the request at your sixty-sixth and sixty-seventh sessions.

I am therefore pleased to inform you that Ms. Mavis Elizabeth Vandhana Joseph Logavatu was appointed IMO Technical Cooperation Officer, effective 19 March 2018 under an ITCP-funded post in the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in Suva, Fiji, up to December 2019. I would like to seize this opportunity to express the Organization’s appreciation to our two regional partners, namely the Pacific Community and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, for their collaboration and facilitation in the establishment of the post. I would therefore like to seize this opportunity to welcome Ms. Joseph to the extended IMO family in the region.

Finally, I look forward to your usual support to your Chair, Mr. Zulkurnain Ayub of Malaysia and his Vice Chair, His Excellency Mr. Laurent Parenté of Vanuatu, in the conduct of the Committee’s business in the next days. In the same vein, Mr. Juvenal Shiundu, Acting Director of the Technical Cooperation Division, and the officers and staff of the Division, will provide your Committee with the traditional support in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities to the best of their abilities. While wishing you a successful sixty-eighth session of your Committee, I look forward to hosting you all to a reception in the delegates lounge at the close of business today.

Thank you.