Technical Co-operation Committee (TC) 64th session (closing remarks)

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Sixty-fourth session of the Technical Cooperation Committee
Friday, 13 June 2014
Closing Remarks by the Secretary-General 

Madam Chairman, distinguished delegates,

Technical cooperation plays a critical role in pursuing the objectives of the Organization for safe, secure and efficient shipping and the prevention of pollution from ships. Under the comprehensive regulatory framework developed by IMO, our technical cooperation activities provide the mechanism to assist Member States in their efforts to implement the IMO conventions to which they are party. They also provide the institutional framework to facilitate the sustainable development and sustainable maritime activities at the national and regional levels. This technical assistance will become even more important when the IMO Member State Audit Scheme becomes mandatory in the near future, 2016 and the Technical Cooperation Committee will continue to play a major role in this respect.

The response of the Committee to my call to take a further step forward to improve the safety of domestic passenger ferries is very encouraging. I will now take action to strengthen the ITCP project on domestic ferry safety and start consultations with Governments which have already shown interest in supporting this initiative. I count on your wider support of my initiative to explore new technical cooperation project in order to reduce the potential loss of life in domestic ferry activities.

Significant progress has been made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015. The linkage established between the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) and the MDGs is the proof of IMO's efforts to work for a better world, taking into account the very noble objective of the United Nations in which prosperity, equality, freedom, human rights and dignity and peace can be further pursued. The outcome of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development initiated an intergovernmental process to prepare a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). IMO, like other agencies in the UN system, is involved in this important development. The ITCP must provide a significant contribution in the broader concept of the post-2015 development agenda.

Your discussion on the information provided on the first analysis undertaken by the Secretariat of the Country Maritime Profiles (CMPs) was positive and constructive. It has become apparent that additional work needs to be done. I believe that the CMPs have a real potential to become key tools in the planning of the ITCP. To allow us to move matters forward and in order to provide to your next session a further analysis for your consideration, I would urge those Members which have not yet completed their CMP to do so as soon as possible, and those who have already provided information to update them.

At the closing of yet another session of your Committee, it is a good moment to congratulate you all on your achievements and to thank all concerned for their efforts in ensuring the success of this session. The first point in my list to be congratulated and appreciated is of course Madam Chairman, Nancy Karigithu. You have done a marvellous job and we all appreciate your patience and good humour and more importantly your beautiful smile. We hope that you will continue to keep smiling so that this Technical Cooperation Committee will make significant progress in the next session as well.

I wish to thank the other officers, the Vice Chairman and other supporters to work towards the objective of this Committee. I wish to also thank the Technical Cooperation Division and the Conference Division for their hard work, both before and during this session. In addition, I wish to thank the interpreters, who have once more greatly facilitated our communication with each other and the success of the session.

Before I move to my comment on those who are leaving, and bid our farewells, this session was the first session of the new Director, Nicolaos Charalambous. His very dynamic engagement based on his extensive knowledge about all fields and mechanisms of IMO will have definitely contributed significantly to the running of this session of this important Committee. I congratulate him for the successful conduct of his first session.

We say our farewells, to the Member State representatives, who have, since your last session, returned to their home countries after serving from a London-based posting; or have either retired or opted to pursue other careers as a result of which they will no longer be attending meetings at IMO. Mr. Ranjeet Singh of Singapore is one of them. I wish them the best in their future endeavours and thank them all for their valuable contribution to the work of the Committee and IMO.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay a special tribute to one of the staff members who served for the Technical Cooperation Committee. His name is Mr. Mohamed El Housseni-Hilal, Deputy Director and Head of the Africa (Francophone) Section of the Technical Cooperation Division, who will be retiring at the end of this month. Mr. El Housseini’s devotion to technical cooperation activities throughout his 26 years of service to the Organization should not go unnoticed. In particular, I would like to mention the recognition acknowledged by the Government of France in 2013 which I approved with a great pleasure when Mr. El Housseini was awarded the decoration of “Ordre national de mérite maritime” - an honour given by France to former officials who graduated from the High Institute of Maritime Studies in France, a special centre for the training of managers in the maritime sector. Such recognition was based on the partnership Mr. El Housseini built between Morocco and France which led to the implementation of various projects on search and rescue, contingency planning and safety of ferries and small ships. I am sure you will all join me in wishing Mr. El Housseini a long and healthy retirement.

I also wish to convey to Mrs. Jane Thompson, the Executive Head of my Office, and other colleagues who will be retiring soon from the Secretariat all best wishes and thank them for their tremendous contribution to the work of the Organization.

Distinguished delegates,

All that remains for me is to wish you all a well-deserved rest and a nice weekend - and to those who have to travel home a safe journey. I am sure that all our interest will be attracted to Rio. Congratulations for the opening of the World Cup, Brazil, and congratulations for winning the first match. I am sure we will all enjoy the World Cup this weekend. I look forward to welcoming you all back at TC 65 next year. And, as a gentle reminder, please do make sure to participate in our Day of the Seafarer campaign on 25 June and spread the good word about the unique contribution seafarers make to societies, to all your colleagues, friends and families!

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you all at the informal drinks reception in the Delegates’ Lounge.