Caribbean Countries to Develop Maritime Transport Policy

caribbean-seaA Regional High-Level Symposium on International Maritime Developments held last week in Montego Bay, Jamaica, resulted in an agreement among Caribbean transport ministers to develop regional policies for maritime transportation to ensure that the Caribbean maritime industry operates in a sustainable manner.

Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Koji Sekimizu, who spoke to JIS News after the closing session on Friday, February 22, hailed the move. “This is significant. What they have achieved today was a sort of collective willingness to achieve sustainable maritime in the Caribbean region,” he stated. He noted that the Rio+20 summit held in Brazil last year had established the way forward in terms of environmental sustainability, but “you cannot talk about sustainable development without shipping. We therefore want to ensure that the shipping itself will be sustainable,” he added.

[. . .] The high-level meeting, held over four-days at the Iberostar Beaches Hotel, brought together ministries and senior officials from the Caribbean maritime sector to discuss critical developments that will affect their countries’ reputation as responsible maritime states. Among issues looked at were opportunities for capacity building, and the maritime labour convention. Minister of Transport and Works, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, told JIS News that the delegates examined ways in which the region could meet the requirements, which have been established by the IMO for various countries. [. . .] He noted that there are some challenges for the smaller countries and Jamaica has offered to assist in helping them meet their obligations.

[. . .] Dr. Davies, who is the Chairman of the Caribbean Transport Ministers, marshalled the discussions and guided the participants into completing the draft Jamaica 2013 symposium resolution, which will determine the way forward for the industry. According to the resolution, the agreement for the development of a Caribbean maritime policy is in recognition of the importance of “safe, secure, environmentally sound and efficient maritime transport services for the movement of goods and people, and the socio-economic benefit, to states and territories, of a clean marine environment to the livelihood and well-being of their inhabitants and the growth of their fisheries and tourism industries.”

As such, the participants committed to: “providing the necessary means and support at the national and regional levels for adequate marine environmental research, monitoring and evaluation, in order to maintain the ecological integrity of the marine and coastal waters of the Caribbean Sea, given its critical socio-economic and environmental importance to member states.”

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