31st- International Maritime Organization Conference London

The 31st session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was being held in London from 22nd November to 4th December 2019.  Mr. Rizwan Ahmed, Secretary, Maritime Affairs lead the Pakistani delegation. During the assembly session, Syed Haider Ali Zaidi, Minister for Maritime Affairs also addressed the IMO Assembly as a Guest Speaker to IMO Assembly. The Minister highlighted the country’s priorities and achievements in the Maritime sector. 

The International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. IMO's work supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a specialized 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. Presently, 174 countries are members of the IMO.

Pakistan, being a Maritime nation, is a member of IMO since 1958. Pakistan's delegation is being ably supported by Nafees Zakaria, High Commissioner Of Pakistan to the UK, and his team.  The participation of high-level delegation in IMO assembly will go a long way in strengthening Pakistan's ties with other maritime nations.

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs addresses 31st International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly Session in London

Minister Quotes from the Holy Quran: “It is Allah Who has subjected the sea to you, that ships may sail through it by His command, that you may seek of his Bounty, and that you may be grateful.” (Surah Al-Jathiyya (45), 12)
Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Minister for Maritime Affairs (MoMA) attended the 31st International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly in London, being held from 25 November – 4 December 2019. He made the country statement on behalf of Pakistan Government on 26 November 2019.

In the statement, the Minister highlighted Pakistan’s significance in the context of global and regional maritime affairs.

Mr Zaidi underlined that Pakistan could provide a new dimension to the international maritime trade by linking Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East via sea route. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to IMO and to the international framework for cooperation amongst maritime nations.

He stressed Pakistan’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) wherein the Maritime sector held a critical role in providing livelihood to maritime communities and improving their living condition.

Mr Zaidi presented an overview of the new Shipping Policy of the Government and said it would provide an impetus to the economy of the country. He urged the IMO members to utilize the services and expertise of the Pakistani seafarers.

The Minister further emphasized Pakistan’s potential of the blue economy for growth and development of maritime nations. He elaborated Pakistan’s efforts in containing marine pollution and ensuring maritime security. He added that Pakistan wanted to play a more active role in international maritime affairs and intends to bid for contesting IMO Council elections during the next term.

Speaking about the importance of the blue economy, the Minister quoted from the Holy Quran: “It is Allah Who has subjected the sea to you, that ships may sail through it by His command, that you may seek of his Bounty, and that you may be grateful. (Surah Al-Jathiyya (45), 12) 

While making reference to the blue economy, he stated;
“Blue Economy Concepts are clearly defined by Allah in the Quran” 

He cited another verse;
“It is He Who has made the sea subject, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender, and that you may extract there-from ornaments to wear; and you seest the ships therein that plough the waves, that you may seek (thus) of the bounty of Allah and that you may be grateful. (Surah An-Nahl, 14)”

 The delegates of the IMO Assembly Session appreciated Minister’s reference to the Holy Quran in the context of seas and potential of blue economy and gave him a huge round of applause.
About the blue economy opportunities in Pakistan, the Minister said: “I believe that development of the Blue Economy would lead to thousands of employment opportunities in Pakistan. One of our goals is to transform Pakistan into a major maritime economic power via the development of the blue economy.” 

In line with the theme of the IMO Session, the Minister highlighted the policy emphasis of the government on the empowerment of women and youth of the country through participation in all sectors of the economy.

 For the duration of the session, Pakistan delegation was led by Mr Rizwan Ahmed, Secretary MoMA, while the High Commissioner was accredited as the alternative head. Mr Shakeel Ahmed Mangnejo, Director General Ports and Shipping, Capt. Qasim Saeed, Chief Nautical Surveyor, Mr Muhammad Shafique, Maritime Expert, Deputy High Commissioner Muhammad Ayub, Defence & Naval Adviser Commodore Jamal Alam and First Secretary Political Muhammad Aneel Zafar were members of Pakistan delegation.

Pakistan’s over 1000 kilometres long coastline and adjoining maritime zones with unique geo-strategic location possess enormous economic potential. Moreover, ‘Regional Economic Networking’ projects under CPEC have provided the much-desired impetus to these vital avenues. Pakistan is a member of IMO since 1958 and has been elected as a member of IMO Council on multiple (five) occasions. It is a signatory of 24 IMO conventions and ratification of five further conventions is under process. Pakistan Maritime Academy, established in 1964, is imparting quality maritime education to nautical and engineering cadets with state of the art technical training in various fields. Over 25000 professionally qualified and competent seafarers are serving national and foreign flag vessels.