UNCTAD15 pre-event: Launch of TrainForTrade course on building port resilience against pandemics

UNCTAD15 pre-event: Launch of TrainForTrade course on building port resilience against pandemics
22 June 2021
14:30 - 15:30 hrs.

This high-level event will launch a new UNCTAD course, entitled Building port resilience against pandemics. Panellists will discuss the importance of keeping supply chains open and seaborne trade moving in times of crisis.

Ships carry around 80% of global trade, including food, energy, raw materials and vital medical supplies.

COVID-19 highlighted the critical role that maritime transport plays in response to pandemics and the need for governments to allow commercial ships continued access to ports worldwide and to facilitate the rapid changeover of ships’ crews.

UNCTAD’s TrainForTrade programme has designed a self-paced, moderated online course to help port community managers strengthen the knowledge and skills needed to protect the people working in port activities while ensuring the continuity of operations.

The course, set to be delivered from 28 June to 30 July 2021, will also lead to the development of a set of recommendations to mitigate the impacts of the current and future pandemics in port communities around the world. The policy advice will feed into the deliberations of UNCTAD15, the organization’s ministerial conference scheduled for the week of 3 October.

Welcoming remarks

  • Ms. Isabelle Durant, Acting Secretary-General of UNCTAD

Panel Discussion

  • H.E. Mr. Michael Gaffey, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations
  • H.E. Ms. Aurora Díaz-Rato Revuelta, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations
  • Mr. David Jean-Marie, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Barbados Port Inc.
  • Mr. Aurelio Martínez, President of the Port Authority of Valencia
  • Mr. José Carlos Mario Beni, Comptroller of the General Administration of Ports S.E, Port of Buenos Aires

Interactive discussion

  • Moderated by Ms. Shamika Sirimanne, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics

Watch event recording

Isabelle Durant
Deputy Secretary-General
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Ms. Isabelle Durant, of Belgium, is Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD. From February to 12 September 2021, she headed the organization as Acting Secretary-General before the appointment of a new UNCTAD Secretary-General on 13 September 2021. Prior to holding this position, she served the organization for over three years as UNCTAD’s Deputy Secretary-General.

Ms. Durant had a distinguished career in Belgian and European politics. She held the offices of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Transport and Energy and Senator in the Belgian Government. She also served as Vice-President of the European Parliament and Presidency of the European Union Council of Ministers of Transport.

Ms. Durant has a wealth of experience collaborating with civil society and the private sector as well, notably as the Vice-President responsible for relations between the European Parliament and civil society. Finally, Ms. Durant has held posts as a senior consultant on the empowerment of women in local government for the UNDP and as a member of Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium.

Michael Gaffey
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva

Michael Gaffey has been the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva since August 2017.

Before his appointment to Geneva, he was Director General of the Development Cooperation Division (Irish Aid) at headquarters, following terms as Middle East Director and Director for the Western Balkans and South East Europe.

His previous postings with the Department of Foreign Affairs were in Tokyo, London, Cairo, Amman, Baghdad, Belfast and Chicago.

Aurora Diaz-Rato Revuelta
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations Office in Geneva

Aurora Diaz-Rato Revuelta is the Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Diaz-Rato Revuelta had been serving as Spain’s Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein since 2017. She was Spain’s Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels and Coordinator for Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2017, and worked at the office of Spain’s Secretary of State for the European Union as a Counsellor from 2012 to 2013. She was Spain’s Ambassador to Uruguay from 2008 to 2012.

A career diplomat, Ms. Diaz-Rato Revuelta worked at the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation as Director General for cooperation with Latin America from 2004 to 2008. From 2001 to 2004, she worked at the General Secretariat for European affairs, General Direction for the coordination of general and technical affairs of the European Union, as a Deputy Director-General. She was posted at the Embassy of Spain in Dublin, Ireland as Deputy Chief from 1996 to 2001, and at the Embassy of Spain in San Jose, Costa Rica as Deputy Chief from 1987 to 1991. She joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain in 1983.

Ms. Diaz-Rato Revuelta has a law degree, a diploma in European law from the College of Europe in Bruges, and a diploma in international affairs from the Diplomatic School in Madrid. She was born in Madrid in 1957.

David Jean-Marie
Barbados Port Inc.

As CEO of Barbados Port Inc. (BPI), David Jean-Marie leads the commercial and operations management of the Port of Bridgetown.

With over 25 years of experience in the shipping and finance sectors, he brought his passion and financial expertise to guide BPI’s short and long-term business strategies and to safeguard its profitability.  He is one of the visionaries crafting the Master Plan which will guide the Port’s green and technology-driven growth, renewal and expansion over the next decade, through 2030.

A Fulbright scholar, Mr. Jean-Marie attended the University of New Haven, attaining a Master of Business Administration, Finance. He is also a graduate of Victoria University of Manchester, with a BSc (Hons) degree in Computer Engineering.

His experience in public sector management has allowed him to build and leverage an enviable network of industry leaders in Barbados and beyond. He is currently Immediate Past President of the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA), having previously served as President, 2015 to 2018.

Mr. Jean-Marie has served on several boards including City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union and Cooperator’s General Insurance Company Limited. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Bridgetown Cruise Terminals Inc., Consumers Guarantee Insurance Company Ltd. and United Commercial Autoworks Ltd (UCAL).

Aurelio Martínez
Port Authority of Valencia

Aurelio Martínez has been a Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Valencia since 1981. In 1989, he was appointed as the Valencian Regional Government’s Director-General of the Economy and Financial Policy, and two years later as the Director of the Economy Department for the Spanish Prime Minister’s Office.

In 1995, Mr. Martínez was appointed as the Valencian Regional Minister for the Economy and Finance, and Chairman of the Valencian Institute of Finance. From 1995 to 1999, he was a Councillor for the Socialist Group on the Valencia City Council.

From 2000 to 2004, he was the Director of the International Economic Environment Observatory (OCEI), and from 2004 to 2009, he was the Chairman of the Spanish Official Credit Institute (ICO).

In July 2009, he was appointed as the Chairman of Navantia and in 2011, as the Chairman of Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (SELAE), the Spanish State Lottery Company.

In 2013, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Valencia Football Club Foundation, a position he left in 2014 when the club was sold.

Mr. Martínez was appointed as the Chairman of the Port Authority of Valencia on 14th August 2015.

José Beni
Administración General de Puertos, Port of Buenos Aires

José Beni is the Comptroller of the General Administration of Ports S.E (Port Buenos Aires) since May 2020. Among his responsibilities, stands out the planification of port policies to promote the arrival of more cargo and more cruise ships to the country’s only national port and the representation of national interests concerning the development of foreign trade.

Mr. Beni has ample experience in the maritime sector of the Republic of Argentina. He has worked in Puerto Buenos Aires since 2012, where he has served as General Manager and within the Operations Management. Previously, he held different positions within the National Secretary of Transportation and the Under Secretary of Ports and Inland Waterways.

Shamika N. Sirimanne
Director, Division on Technology and Logistics
UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Shamika N. Sirimanne is the Director of the Division on Technology and Logistics of UNCTAD.  She leads UNCTAD's trade logistics programme, including the work on trade facilitation, maritime transport, port management, and e-commerce and the digital economy. She also supervises UNCTAD’s largest technical cooperation programme, ASYCUDA—the Automated System for Customs. 

Ms. Sirimanne has extensive experience in development policy, research and technical cooperation gained from international organizations, national governments, think tanks and universities. Prior to UNCTAD, she served as the Director of the ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), where she spearheaded major regional cooperation programmes such as the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway initiative, and Regional Drought Monitoring Mechanism.

During her tenure with ESCAP, Ms. Sirimanne also headed the trade facilitation programme, and led the macroeconomic policy work and ESCAP’s flagship publication, Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific. Prior to that, Ms. Sirimanne was with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), where she led the economic policy team and the Economic Report on Africa, the flagship publication of ECA. She has also worked for the Canadian Ministry of Finance and the World Bank. Ms. Sirimanne holds a PhD in Economics.

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