PM says Jamaica wants to remain on IMO council

Senior staff reporter

Friday, July 26, 2019

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness yesterday sought the support of the members of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Jamaica's efforts to be re-elected to the council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Holness said that recognising the importance of the seas and oceans to economic sustainability, Jamaica will remain actively engaged in ISA and other international fora where these matters are addressed.

“With our long history of involvement in maritime affairs, Jamaica remains committed to the development of the rules and standards in international shipping, as well as the promotion of maritime development, particularly in the Caribbean region,” he told attendees at yesterday's 25th anniversary commemorative ceremony for the Kingston-headquartered ISA at the Jamaica Conference Centre in the capital city.

“We are therefore seeking re-election to the council of the International Maritime Organisation for the period 2020/2021. Noting the ongoing rapid deterioration of the maritime environment, I call on all member states to use this opportunity of ISA's 25th anniversary to recommit to the preservation and equitable utilisation of maritime resources and to ocean-based climate action,” Holness stated.

A specialised agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

Representatives from most of the 168 member countries of the ISA were on hand for the ceremony yesterday. Delegates gave brief speeches on the problems plaguing the member states and their hope for more recognition for the authority and its work.

Under the leadership of former Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry, Jamaica secured a place on the influential council of the IMO following its successful election at the 30th session of the organisation's General Assembly in December 2017.

Jamaica secured 120 of the 159 valid votes cast in the highly competitive elections to join 19 other member states that were elected to Category 'C' of the council for the 2018-2020 biennium. It was the only country of five to have been elected to the council that was not serving members of Category 'C'.

The ISA has been meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre since Monday. Among the issues discussed were the implementation of its strategic plan for 2019/2023, including a draft high-level action plan and key performance indicators.

Other issues raised by the delegations included the question of the role of ISA in the global context; strengthening the regulatory framework; and protection of the marine environment.

Other speakers at the commemoration session included Jamaica's minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, who has been presiding at the meetings, and the secretary general of ISA, Michael Lodge.

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