Several representatives from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will be giving important updates on its work to support maritime development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals, when the 2019 Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) AGM & Conference convenes on Tuesday, 29 October. The four-day event is being hosted by WISTA Cayman Islands and is expected to bring over 200 maritime experts from 30-plus 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 Organization will be discussing ways to collaborate more with entities such as WISTA to further advance the role of women in the industry.
“We are pleased to have officials from the IMO participating in the programme for the WISTA International AGM and Conference. 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,” said Nanalie Cover, Chair of the WISTA Cayman Islands Conference Organising Committee.
This year's event is an especially significant one as the World Maritime Day theme for 2019 is "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community". The day is celebrated on
26 September and having the AGM and Conference just weeks after marking the occasion presents an ideal opportunity to further raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, and to highlight the important - yet under-utilized and under-recognized - contribution of women within the maritime sector. WISTA Cayman Islands is excited to be a part of the conversation.”
Helen Buni, IMO Focal Point for Women in Maritime, agrees.
“This year’s World Maritime Day theme is dedicated to women in our industry. It is a perfect time to discuss diversity and inclusion in the maritime industries and lay the groundwork for discussions on how a diverse workforce will provide a sustainable future for our industry. 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,” said Ms. Buni.
Juvenal Shiundu, Director of the IMO Technical Cooperation Division, who will be talking on the issue of cross-collaboration, believes that WISTA International’s lobby is a powerful one.
“WISTA's efforts support the overarching principles in the IMO's Strategic Plan, especially the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The organization plays an important role in helping IMO reach out to women in the maritime industry,” said Mr. Shiundu.
Colin Young, IMO Regional Maritime Adviser, Caribbean, Technical Cooperation Division will also be presenting at the event. He 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 (WiMAC) as well as promote better collaboration between IMO and WISTA in the region.
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 (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 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 (WIMAs) 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,” said Ms. Walker. “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.”
This is the first time that Cayman is hosting the AGM and Conference. The conference theme this year is "Founded Upon the Seas", a nod to Cayman's maritime heritage.
The 2019 WISTA International AGM & Conference is sponsored by Maples Group, Port Authority of the Cayman Islands, Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, NetClues, TotoTheo Maritime, Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, Fiorenti Holdings, Jones Walker LLP, Marshall Islands Registry, BlankRome Maritime, Cricket Square Ltd., Total Marine Solutions, Hyde Agencies Ltd., Cayman Management, MF Shipping Group, Waterfront Shipping Company Limited and Seaboard Cayman, AL Thompson's and Bina Motor Yacht.