International Maritime Organization to present at International Women in Shipping Conference

Helen Buni

Several representatives from the International Maritime Organization will be giving updates on its work to support maritime development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals at the 2019 Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association AGM and Conference on Tuesday, 29 Oct.

The WISTA Cayman-hosted, four-day event is expected to attract at least 200 maritime experts from more than 30 countries.

The IMO is the United Nations specialised agency with regulatory responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.

Representatives from the organisation will be discussing ways to collaborate more with entities such as WISTA to further advance the role of women in the industry, WISTA said in a press release.

“We are pleased to have officials from the IMO participating in the programme for the WISTA International AGM and Conference,” said Nanalie Cover, chair of the WISTA Cayman Islands Conference Organising Committee.

“The support they continue to provide to WISTA International and their willingness to work with the organisation to advance our vision for the industry is invaluable and necessary.”

This year’s event follows World Maritime Day, which on 26 Sept. had the theme ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’.

Helen Buni, IMO Focal Point for Women in Maritime, said given the theme it was a perfect time to discuss diversity and inclusion in the maritime industries. “Participation in the 2019 WISTA International AGM is important, as it provides opportunities to showcase the varied technical skills and leadership that women can and do bring to the industry,” Buni said.

Juvenal Shiundu, director of the IMO Technical Cooperation Division, who will be talking on the issue of cross-collaboration, believes that WISTA International has strong lobbying power.

“WISTA’s efforts support the overarching principles in the IMO’s Strategic Plan, especially the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women,” he said. “The organisation plays an important role in helping IMO reach out to women in the maritime industry.”

Colin Young, IMO regional maritime advisor, Caribbean, Technical Cooperation Division, will be updating attendees on the latest developments in the region to improve relations between WISTA International through its Cayman Islands chapter and the Women in Maritime Association, Caribbean.

Delegates will also hear from Lilia Khodjet El Khil, IMO project technical manager for the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships, a five-year project to help protect marine biodiversity.

The first globally coordinated effort to address biofouling, the GloFouling Partnerships project is a collaboration between the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Development Programme and IMO. WISTA International is a strategic partner of the project, and the organisation’s president has officially endorsed the project, particularly its component on diversity and empowering women in the maritime sector.

Carleen Lyden Walker, IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador, will be moderating a session on the topic of how IMO-established Women in Maritime Associations can work together with WISTA to challenge gender bias.

“There are many opportunities for change and action in today’s maritime world. One area is the improvement of women’s access to contributing in the maritime industry from entering to excelling,” Walker said. “Fostering a woman’s pathway to success is the role of both WISTA and the IMO-established WIMAs. In our discussion, we will be reviewing the activities of both associations and searching for areas of collaboration.”

Cayman is hosting the annual general meeting and conference for the first time.

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