After a lengthy and well organised campaign to support its case, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first Arab country to win Category B membership of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council. Its success followed an election that included nominees from 11 leading countries in the international marine trade sector, such as Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, France and Australia. The declaration was made during the 30th General Assembly meeting in London, amidst considerable international praise for the UAE’s pivotal role in promoting the international maritime system and driving the growth of international maritime trade.
His Excellency Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belheif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Transport Authority (FTA), said that this historic victory marked an important milestone in the UAE’s ongoing progress and paves the way for a new stage in the country’s global leadership role. Membership of the Council is expected to enhance the UAE’s ability to contribute to the development of international laws and regulations that will promote international trade, transport and international shipping.
H.E. Dr. Al Nuaimi attributed the UAE’s success in being elected to the IMO Council to the country’s “advanced capabilities and competitive advantages.” Moreover, he praised the hard work of the bid team, which involved cooperation between the public and private sectors to raise the UAE’s profile on a global basis. Nuaimi concluded: “The UAE’s achievements do not stop here, as we are pushing to continue the country’s competitive role in global trade and international economy, especially in our continuing efforts to expand the development of local ports with a total investment of AED 157 billion over the coming years.”
The 40-strong IMO Council has three categories. The 10 Council members elected under Category A, which is made up of those countries with the largest interest in providing international shipping services, remained unchanged as: China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States. Two new members were elected under Category B, which comprises other States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade. Australia joined the UAE as newcomers, replacing Argentina and Bangladesh. The other returning Category B members are Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.
Jamaica was elected to the Category C section, which includes “20 States not elected under A or B with special interests in maritime transport or navigation, and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.” The other Category C States are Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey. Saudi Arabia had bid for Category C admission but was unsuccessful on this occasion.