Asia is the most populous and largest continent in the world, by a considerable margin. It covers 8.6% of the Earth’s total surface area, or 29.4% of its land area, and contains more than 60% of the world’s population. Of the 22 IMO Member States and two Associate Members in the region1, seven nations fall under the category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and two are Small Islands Developing States (SIDS)2. Most Asian countries are maritime nations, except for four land-locked countries3.
Fishing remains one of the major economic activities along the region's coastal areas, with local people dependent on marine food production for their sustenance.
Its coastal zone facilitates the trade and economic growth of the region through the shipping networks involving all types of vessels from the smallest to the largest, from domestic ferry operations and fishing activities to those involved in international trade. There are a number of archipelagic states for which domestic shipping services are of paramount importance.
The region has a vast influence in ensuring the protection of the marine environment from ships. Its coastal and marine ecosystems are amongst the richest and most productive in the world and have a major social and economic importance. However, these are at risk, particularly taking into consideration the rising rate of shipping activities. Asia comprises some of the busiest shipping lanes and some of the largest ports in the world as well.
As a result of the region's rich biodiversity, unique ecosystems and favourable climate, coastal tourism has contributed to economic growth and local employment, making the region one of the fastest developing tourism areas in the world.
As an important maritime region, Asia plays a key role in international shipping. However, countries in the region vary significantly in terms of maritime infrastructure and resources, level of governance, and need for external assistance to implement the international treaties adopted under the purview of IMO and various maritime regulations emanating from them.
For the delivery of its technical assistance programme, the Asia region is comprised of two subregions:
• the South Asia subregion which covers Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka; and
• the East Asia subregion which covers Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam. Associate Members: Hong Kong, China, Macau, China.
In 2004, IMO established a regional presence office for East Asia located in Manila, the Philippines.The Regional Coordinator for East Asia plays a significant role in supporting the formulation and execution of the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) and facilitates IMO’s input into national and regional development policies in the subregion.
If your enquiry relates to a country not within the remit of the below-mentioned office, please address your enquiry to the IMO Secretariat.
2 LDCs in Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Timor-Leste. SIDS in Asia: Singapore and Timor-Leste
3 Land-locked countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Nepal.
Regional Presence in East Asia
The regional presence office for the East Asian sub-region is situated in Metro Manila. The contact details of the Regional Coordinator are as follows:
Ms. Josephine Uranza
IMO Regional Coordinator
7th floor, First Maritime Place
7458 Bagtican Street, San Antonio Village
Makati City, Metro Manila
The Philippines office covers the following countries:
Lao People's Democratic Republic*
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea
* Not an IMO Member State
The Pacific Islands region is composed of 16 States (144 of which are IMO Member States) and 11 Territories5. Fourteen Pacific Island States are SIDS and three are LDCs6.
The sea is the most significant geographical feature of the Pacific Region. Countries in the region have a responsibility for vast exclusive economic zones and marine environment protection. Achieving economies of scale in the provision of transport services to Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) is complicated by their small size, their geographical dispersion and the nature of their terrain, which in many instances is unsuited for the operation of conventional aircraft and maritime vessels.
Ships and seafaring are fundamental Pacific traditions, and inter-island shipping services play a crucial role in providing the fundamental means of transportation. Most international trade and commerce is conducted by sea and most goods reach regional and national markets by sea transport. Most PICTs rely on the sea for sustenance (fisheries) and employment, with the region supplying a large number of seafarers to the regional and global shipping fleet. Maritime transport also plays a critical role in sustainable development and poverty alleviation in the region.
The culture, people and the region as a whole are at risk to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. The Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable in the world to the threats of climate change, including global temperature increases and rising sea levels. Risk of coastal and marine pollution is also a concern for the region as pollution and growing volumes of hazardous waste become major threats to the sustainable development of the Pacific communities.
For the delivery of its programmes, IMO cooperates with a number of partner organizations in the region, including the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Additionaly, IMO funds the post of an IMO Technical Cooperation Officer within the Pacific Community (SPC), based in Suva, Fiji.
The contact details of the IMO Technical Cooperation Officer are as follows:
Ms. Mavis Joseph-Logavatu
IMO Technical Cooperation Officer
Level 2, Lotus Building, Ratu Mara Road, Nabua
SPC - Private Mail Bag - Suva, Fiji
The Fiji office covers the following:
Cook Islands (the)
Marshall Islands (the)
Papua New Guinea
(Federated States of)
* Not an IMO Member State
American Samoa (United States of America)
French Polynesia (France)
Christmas Island (Australia)
Guam (United States of America)
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Australia)
* Not an IMO Member State