ABU DHABI / WAM
The United Arab Emirates has submitted three proposals to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that support the reforms undertaken by IMO regarding the development and improvement of the work system. The reforms were introduced during the meetings of the IMO Council, where the UAE has a Category (B) membership.
Through this move, the country hopes to keep pace with global changes and technological developments.
Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly
In the 125th session concluded earlier this year, the Council agreed that the UAE’s permanent representative would chair the working group concerned with amending the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure. The team completed the final draft that was presented by Mohamed Khamis Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IMO, to the Council at the 34th extraordinary session, held from 8th to 12th November 2021. After discussions, the Council approved the draft amendments and referred them to the Assembly at its 32nd session, which will be held in December 2021 for final approval. The amends will then be implemented from 1st January 2022.
Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “Through its membership in the IMO Council, the UAE plays an active role in driving the progress of the maritime industry. This is done by developing strategies and policies, setting standards that regulate the maritime sector and promoting maritime legislation and regulations to serve the global shipping and international trade sector, in close cooperation with the IMO Member States. We consider the UAE’s membership in the IMO Council as a responsibility towards the international maritime community. Hence, we always strive to add value to technical and legal discussions, while also submitting proposals to enhance safety and security regulations and protect the marine environment. The amendments proposed by the UAE would support the IMO mission and contribute to developing and improving the work system to keep pace with global changes and modern technological developments.”
Promoting women empowerment
To ensure gender equity in the industry, the UAE and other member states, prepared a proposal to add a reference to women empowerment in IMO’s strategic direction. This was unanimously approved by the Council. Additionally, the IMO Council decided to establish the International Day for Women in Maritime, to be observed on 18 May every year.
Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “The UAE has been at the forefront of empowering women in all fields, especially the maritime sector. It is one of the founders of the International Maritime Organization Communication Network for Gender Equality (IMOGENder). The UAE also contributed to drafting several IMO resolutions to enhance women’s participation in the maritime sector. This supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the fifth goal that focuses on gender equality. Additionally, the UAE currently holds the presidency of the Arab Women in Maritime Association (AWIMA), in cooperation with the IMO Technical Cooperation Programme.”
Regional presence and coordination
The UAE submitted a proposal to establish IMO regional offices at the Technical Cooperation Committee’s 71st session within the IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme. After discussion, the Committee agreed to refer the proposal to the IMO Council. At its 34th extraordinary session, the Council agreed to refer the issue for further consideration under the Organization’s reforms and to submit a report in future sessions.
Al Kaabi said, “The UAE enjoys a remarkable presence in all UN organisations. It has contributed to several amendments such as increasing the members of the IMO Council to consist of 52 members instead of 40, in addition to the proposal to increase the term of office of the Council to 4 years. After studying other UN organisations, the UAE submitted a proposal to establish IMO regional offices after defining the maritime geographical regions. This will greatly benefit the IMO as well as other member states. The move will identify the needs of member states, provide them with the necessary support and meet their requirements.”
IMO Council membership
In 2017, the UAE was elected to IMO Council under category B and was re-elected in 2019. The UAE is seeking re-election for the third consecutive time. The election will take place from 6th to 15th December 2021 in London. The UAE aims to continue its active role in strengthening maritime legislation and regulations to serve the shipping sector and international trade.