From left: Director, Technical Cooperation Division, International Maritime Organisation IMO, Mr. Juvenal Shiundu, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside and Head, Latin America & The Caribbean Section, Technical Cooperation Division of the IMO Mr. Carlos Salgado, at the opening session of the two-day Regional Workshop on UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework: A process to mainstream the maritime sector organised by NIMASA in conjunction IMO and United Nations Commission for Africa UNECA in Lagos.

Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has assured that the Federal Government of Nigeria will do everything possible to mainstream the maritime sector into the country’s national economic strategy as part of efforts to enhance inclusive economic growth and development.

The Minister gave this assurance while giving his keynote address at the opening of a two-day Regional Workshop on UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework: A process to mainstream the maritime sector organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation IMO and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa UNECA in Lagos.

The two-day workshop was designed to create a forum for all the key players and stakeholders involved in the Cooperation Framework process to meet, establish the necessary contacts, which will be needed for future collaboration and for the inclusion of maritime in the mainstream of their economic strategies towards economic growth.

The Minister also said that the Maritime Transport Plan and Strategy when fully completed will also provide a robust enabling framework for achieving Nigerian maritime objective and foster Public, Private sector collaboration and inter-regional cooperation. 

“This workshop is an essential step in a continuing shift in strategic thinking about the sustainable development of our nations and will no doubt provide an opportunity for stakeholders here present to develop the much needed cooperation framework in addressing the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)”, Amaechi said.          

Speaking further, the Minister who was represented by the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that as the African Continent forges ahead with phase II negotiations for the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area AFCFTA, the maritime sector remains critical to seamless trade and effective economic integration between African nations.

He said: “our approach, therefore, towards the realisation of the SDG is contingent on our joint effort and ability to put in place the much needed cooperation framework in collaboration with critical stakeholders using the maritime sector as a veritable tool to promote agricultural development, food security, industrialisation and economic transformation of our nations, the region and the entire continent”.    

He used the opportunity to commend the IMO, UNECA and NIMASA for putting together the workshop, and expressed optimism that with the level of participation at the workshop, the objectives of developing blueprint and agreeing on a common approach in mainstreaming the maritime sector into the SDG and national plan of states will be achieved.

Meanwhile, the DG NIMASA, had earlier in his welcome address stated there is the need for the leaders of the various countries in the continent to understand the workings of the maritime sector, as maritime transportation plays an important role in a nation’s economic development.

Peterside also emphasised for political leaders and policy makers to understand why it is important to mainstream maritime sector in economic plan and economic strategies of the various countries.

“As a country, we align with the initiative of the IMO to mainstream maritime transportation and the maritime sector to the economic planning of our various nations and also in the strategic planning. Not only are we going to mainstream maritime transport to the economic strategies of our various countries, there is being a shift from looking unto other countries for assistance to working with other countries, international partners in a cooperative and collaborative manner”, Peterside stated.

He also disclosed that Nigeria is currently pursuing an economic diversification programme, with a long term plan.

“We are working from the known to a future we deserve, and we have taken a number of steps; we have clearly identified where we want to be as a country, we have identified pillars upon which we want to build that glorious future we are working towards”, Peterside also said. 

The Director, Technical Cooperation Division of the IMO, Mr. Juvenal Shiundu in his remarks, assured that the IMO is committed to assisting member states on the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goal SDG agenda.

He said, IMO’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is manifestly reflected in its General Assembly Resolution (A.1126) adopted at its 30th session in 2017, which includes among others, invitation to Member States, partner organizations to coordinate and work with the five United Nations Regional Economic Commissions to ensure that the maritime sector is reflected in regional programmes.