A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to the United Nations Office at Geneva Patricia O'Brian and senior representatives of two Irish ports at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 18 September 2014.
By signing this document, Patrick Magner, Board Member of Dublin Port Company (DPC), and Brendan Keating, CEO of Port of Cork Company (PoCC), reaffirmed their strong commitment to UNCTAD's Port Training Programme (PTP) for the next three years.
They were accompanied by John Moore and Patrick Ward, Board Member and Head of Corporate Services of DPC respectively, who are both very active in the PTP Programme.
UNCTAD's Port Training Programme1 aims to enhance effective port management in developing countries.
In a welcome address, Dr. Kituyi drew attention to the pivotal role that ports play in international trade, as sea transport accounts for the most important movement of goods.
According to the Secretary-General, developing countries have realized the importance of international and regional cooperation. They are therefore increasingly engaging in "co-petition" -- the concept of cooperation amongst competitors. By cooperating with other ports in the same region, overall cargo flow can be increased to the benefit of all ports in the region.
Dr. Kituyi commended the programme for its remarkable outputs and thanked the Irish representatives for their support of UNCTAD and its commitment to sustainable development.
The Ambassador of the Indonesia to United Nations Office at Geneva, Triyono Wibowo, expressed his strong appreciation of the Port Training Programme and said it was an excellent example of UNCTAD's technical assistance.
Also speaking at the event, a representative of Ghana said that the programme had been a major change-maker in the development of his country's economy. The capacity building activities implemented in the framework of the PTP had contributed decisively to the development of the ports of Tema and Takoradi in Ghana, he added.
Representatives of the Philippines reiterated the importance of the programme, and in particular for their nation as an archipelagic state.
UNCTAD's PTP fosters South-South and North-South cooperation through regular exchanges of local and international experts and best practices.
The ports of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, namely Dublin Port Company, Port of Cork Company, Port of Drogheda and Belfast Harbour Commissioners, play a central role in these exchanges by sending their port experts to the member ports of the English-speaking network of the PTP and by hosting annual meetings at their premises.
The programme started in 1996 with three French-speaking countries and has since expanded. Today it comprises French-, English-, Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking networks.
The English-speaking network was first launched in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Ghana and the United Republic of Tanzania in 2007. Since then, the network has continued to evolve and now also includes the Philippines and Nigeria. Up to date 2,300 port operators at middle and senior levels have been trained and certified in 20 countries.
The English-speaking network of UNCTAD's PTP is largely financed by its member ports, with in-kind contributions provided by the Irish ports. It also receives funding from the government of the Republic of Ireland through IrishAid.