Search

 

Cablegate: Imo Annual Meeting of the Technical Cooperation

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLO #2125/01 2541613
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111613Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3479
INFO RUWDQAC/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS LONDON 002125

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AORC EWWT KGHG PHSA SENV UK
SUBJECT: IMO ANNUAL MEETING OF THE TECHNICAL COOPERATION
COMMITTEE (TCC), JUNE 23-25, 2009

1. SUMMARY: The 59th Session of the Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was held at IMO Headquarters in London, June 23-25. There was detailed discussion on funding the Djibouti Code of Conduct on Somali piracy. End Summary

ACTIONS AND ACHIEVEMENTS ------------------------

2. The 59th session was chaired by Ben Owusu-Mensah of Ghana. IMO Secretary-General Mitropoulos gave opening remarks that highlighted: -- The two major environmental conferences in 2009 (Hong Kong and Copenhagen); -- The constraints on IMO operations caused by the economic crisis; -- The worsening piracy situation (35 percent increase in 2009 thus far; 13 ships and 194 seafarers currently held hostage); -- The IMO,s active role in the anti-piracy Contact Group begun at the initiative of the U.S.; -- The $15 million contribution from Japan for implementation of the Djibouti Code concerning piracy; -- The proposed $22 million Integrated Technical Cooperation Program (ITCP) for 2010-2011 (Agenda Item 2 was devoted to the interim report on the ICTP for 2008-2009); -- The linkage between the ICTP and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

MILLENNIUM DEVELOMENT GOALS AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION --------------------------------------------- --------

3. Under agenda item 3 on the linkage between the ITCP and the MDG, USDEL expressed appreciation for the Secretariat,s work in producing the report (Document TC 59/3) and addressing HIV/AIDS, environmental matters, partnerships for development, and a variety of approaches to achieving the MDGs. Other delegations made similar statements.

INTERNATIONAL TECHNICAL COOPERATION PROGRAM AND DJIBOUTI CODE --------------------------------------------- ----------------

4. The proposed ITCP program for 2010-2011 was item 5 on the agenda. USDEL noted the professionalism and comprehensiveness of the document (Doc 59/4), and praised the emphasis on implementation. While supporting the overall proposal in principle, USDEL emphasized the need for a realistic assessment of the sources and amounts of the resources that would be necessary to carry out such a program. In commenting on the Djibouti Code (Doc 59/4/2), USDEL commended the role of the Secretary-General and the IMO in connection with the Contact Group and other anti-piracy efforts, and expressed appreciation to Kenya, Djibouti, Japan (for its $15 million contribution to implement the Code), and the governments that have contributed naval forces. USDEL noted the Secretary General,s comment that piracy getting worse. USDEL lauded the international effort thus far and stressed that such an approach is the only way to succeed.

FUNDING DJIBOUTI CODE OF CONDUCT (SOMALI PIRACY) --------------------------------------------- ---

5. USDEL requested clarification on funding arrangements for implementation of the Djibouti Code. The Secretariat stated that it intends to establish a multi-donor trust fund (IMO Djibouti Code Trust Fund) to support technical cooperation activities required for capacity-building among the signatories to the Code. The Secretariat emphasized that that the Fund would not duplicate the work to be done under other funds, in particular the trust fund to be established by the Contact Group and administered by UN Development Program or UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The Secretariat said every effort would be made to avoid conflict of interest, redundancy, and competition with the other trust fund. The International Maritime Security Trust Fund (IMST) continues to be an additional security trust fund, to which the United States has contributed $1,360,737 of the $2,110,420 currently in the fund. This fund will fund some Djibouti Code activities as well as maritime security cooperation that falls outside of the scope of the Djibouti Code.

6. A major future project of the ITCP in 2010-2011 will be the implementation of the Djibouti Code. This anti-piracy program is based in Djibouti and Yemen as outlined in Document 59/4/2. This program will consist of: -- establishment of a training center in Djibouti to train and develop law enforcement officers and coast guards from the region; -- training of coast guards and other personnel with law enforcement roles; -- needs assessment for development of coast guard capabilities in the region; -- needs assessment for the establishment and operation of the Sana,a Information Sharing Center; -- needs assessment for enhancing maritime situational awareness; -- regional workshop on review of national legislation on piracy; -- subregional workshop for training of the national focal points for piracy and staff of the information sharing centers; and -- establishment of national legislation in regional countries to deal with pirates.

7. Several of these programmed activities are areas in which the USCG has specific expertise, especially with respect to conducting needs assessments and the development of training centers for maritime law enforcement and coast guard officers. The USCG stands ready to assist with consultancies for implementation of these ITCP activities if provided ample lead time and requested by the Technical Cooperation Division. Other states currently involved in implementation of the Djibouti Code are Japan as a donor of $15 million, and the Netherlands, which announced its contribution to the development of the information center in Djibouti. Argentina's embassy in Nairobi also offered assistance to the governments of Kenya and the Seychelles for the implementation of the Djibouti Code.

FINANCING OF THE ITCP ---------------------

8. Agenda item 5 concerned the financing of the ITCP, and required several interventions by USDEL. Specifically, USDEL took the approach in the Committee discussed in Washington during pre-TCC consultations, and said: -- The proposed Technical Cooperation program for 2010-2011 outlined under Item 4 (Doc TC 59/4) is very commendable and should in principle be carried out if an acceptable way of funding it can be found; -- The Council (and ultimately the Assembly) will make all final decisions about the budget; -- The Committee is just making recommendations and cannot tie the hands of the Council; -- The Committee is just one element of the overall picture on the budget and should not be considered in isolation or compartmented to reduce the flexibility or options of the Council; -- It is premature for the Committee to attempt to set precise percentage allocations to fund the TC programs for the 2010-2011 biennium; -- The U.S. is therefore not in a position to support the precise proposal in Paragraph 16 of the Secretariat proposal under Item 5 (Doc 59/5); and -- The Council discussions next week will have to include consideration of TC funding levels and sources.

9. Canada, the UK, and Jamaica were all privately sympathetic, but USDEL got no support publicly. The UK representative emphasized privately that the UK Foreign Office has said the budget proposal with a 22 percent increase in assessment is a nonstarter. Many delegations supported the Secretariat proposal in Doc 59/5 without change. The Secretary General said everyone realizes that the budget will be the main issue for that Council session. Nigeria noted that many delegations will be represented by the same people in the Council, and asked that the same debate not occur twice and that all budget talk be deferred.

IMO Secretary General on the IMO Budget ---------------------------------------

10. In a private meeting in his office with USDEL on June 24, the Secretary General said: -- The original 14.9 percent budget was really a ten percent increase that was non-discretionary (International Civil Service Commission raises and exchange rate issues) and thus only a 5 percent increase for IMO programs, etc.; -- The improved exchange rate has lowered the increase to 12 percent; -- He welcomes constructive suggestions from USDEL, but asks that we do not just tell him to limit the increase to X percent, but tell him how to do it; and -- He emphasized the four areas of unexpected IMO expenses, noting that some are USG initiatives. THe areas he mentioned are climate change, piracy, Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT), and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS).

11. Mitropoulos stressed his efforts to save money through a hiring freeze, travel and overtime cuts, host governments paying his first class air fares, etc. He asked us to note that IMO is doing a great job and deserves some benefit of the doubt.

12. USDEL repeated several of the points made in the Committee, supported the TC program in principle but stressed that we must find a responsible way to fund it. USDEL mentioned the need for nothing to be walled off from the Council, so that it has flexibility and potentially a free flow of funds among accounts when possible (recognizing constraints such as the 75 percent of the Printing Fund that must go toward TC). (Comment: Of particular note is that USDEL mentioned the high surpluses or reserves in several funds--drawn from the IO/MPR paper on the 09 budget situation--with the implication that they are available to help with the regular budget, and neither the SYG nor any delegation challenged that approach on policy, legal, or financial grounds. That approach may ultimately be the solution.)

EXCERPT FROM OFFICIAL REPORT ON IMO AND TCC BUDGET --------------------------------------------- -----

13. In the official report of the TCC, after summarizing the overwhelming support for the proposals in TC 59/5, Paragraph 5.11 reports: "The United States delegation commended the detail of the documentation provided by the Secretariat, expressing support in principle for the proposed program. It added that the Council would be meeting the following week and would doubtless, in these challenging times, spend a lot of time debating the proposed budget, particularly in the light of the proposed increase of 14.9 percent to the regular budget. The delegation expressed particular concern regarding the content of paragraph 16, which indicated the TC allocation to be 62 percent of the total funding required for the new ITCP. The delegation informed the Committee that the Government of the United States was not in a position to agree to a specific percentage allocation as this budget represented only a small part of the overall budgetary situation which would be discussed by the Council the following week. He continued that the United States was in general agreement with the aims and objectives of the ITCP 2010-2011, particularly as regards the support to Africa. The question which now needed to be addressed was how to pay for it. The delegate stated that only the IMO Council could decide whether 62 percent was an appropriate allocation in the light of the wider budgetary needs of the Organization."

14. The report continues: (BEGIN QUOTE) "5.12 The Secretary-General thanked the United States delegation for their "warning shots" and confirmed that the Secretariat would approach the issue with an open mind, a flexible point of view, and constructive efforts. He expressed the hope that the usual spirit of cooperation and compromise would ensure, despite the challenging economic situation. He referred to the proposed 14.9 percent increase to the regular budget, as highlighted by the United States delegation, and informed the Committee that the document had been written before the publication of an addendum to the document, where figures had been amended in the light of a rise in the value of Sterling, which has led to the budgetary increase requested now, representing an increase of 12 percent rather than the previous figure of 14.9 percent. He continued that, whilst this change was welcome, it was, nonetheless an illustration that there were some areas over which IMO had no control. He continued that, should the US dollar fall still further, this would, in turn, be reflected in the budget request and could help to avoid a controversial debate. 5.13 The Secretary-General pointed out, however, that the TC Fund did not form part of the regular budget and that the percentage of the Printing Fund allocated to TC activities was subject to Assembly resolution A.986(25), over which the TC Committee had no control. The Secretary-General also informed the meeting that, taking this and other matters into account, such as staff salaries, over which IMO had no control, the increase in the budget for the ITCP 2010-2011 biennium represented only 5 percent, which was less than the 8 percent adopted by the last TCC in 2007. He also felt that the Committee should now advise the Council as it seemed necessary. 5.14 The Secretariat provided clarification on the relevance of the 62 percent to which the United States delegation had alluded: in determining the value of the TC Fund program for 2010-2011, the Secretariat had first identified priority activities in each region, and then determined the costing projections for those core activities. Once the priority national and global programs had been selected, their correlation to the total requirement against the proposed ITCP was analyzed and reflected in table 4 of the document, as an indicator of the funding still be secured from external donors. The figure of 62 percent did not, in itself, represent a target value for the TC Fund program. 5.15 The United States delegation expressed its appreciation for the information and clarifications provided by the Secretariat but reiterated its position regarding paragraph 16 and insisted that this was too specific for it to lend its support. The delegation confirmed that it was happy for the document to be submitted for consideration by the Council with the provision that the wording of the report should clearly reflect the views expressed by the United States delegation. 5.16 The Chairman confirmed that the view of the United States delegation would be reflected in the report." END QUOTE

15. The report then makes a few summary points and concludes with the proposed actions in Document 59/5, including that its views and recommendations be conveyed to the Council session next week.

TECHNICAL COOPERATION OVERLAPS WITH BILATERAL PROGRAMS --------------------------------------------- ---------

16. The technical cooperation completed under the ITCP during the 2008-2009 biennium (Document 59/2) has a great deal of overlap or similarities with the bilateral technical assistance and security cooperation that the USCG engages in. Such examples include: installation of equipment and training for search and rescue operators at rescue coordination centers; conducting maritime security needs assessments; and a recent maritime security counter-terrorism capacity building mission in Madagascar. 17. However, IMO,s technical cooperation focuses more heavily on global and regional level programs, which made up 24% of ITCP expenditures in 2008. The ITCP is also especially active in areas where the USCG has less bilateral engagement activity such as the Arab States and Mediterranean (32% of 2008 ITCP expenditures) and Africa (18% of ITCP 2008 expenditures). Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
SUSMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>