The preparatory work for IALA’s change of status from non-governmental to intergovernmental organization (IGO) gained further momentum at the Second Preparatory Diplomatic Conference generously hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco in Marrakech on 7 and 8 February 2018.
Welcoming the high-level delegations from 50 countries where IALA has National members, including strong representation from Africa and the Middle East as well as from around the world, Mr. Abdelkader AMARA, Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, drew attention to the maritime safety and security responsibilities of Morocco as an important coastal State in North Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. He expressed his country’s strong support for IALA’s activities and those of its World-Wide Academy, praising also the success of the First Regional Training Seminar on Safety of Navigation in Africa held in Marrakech on 6 February 2018, with 79 representatives from 16 African countries and the regional maritime community.
The two-day conference was convened in accordance with the Roadmap agreed at the First Pre-Diplomatic Conference held in Paris on 18 and 19 April 2017. Chaired once again by the French Ambassador for the Oceans, His Excellency, Mr Serge Ségura, the Conference also endorsed Mr Lahcen Ait Brahim, Director for Ports and the Public Maritime Domain in the Moroccan Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water as vice-chair. The proceedings further benefited from the legal expertise of Mr Jon Price and Mr Henning Osnes Teigene, respectively chair and vice-chair of the Legal Advisory Panel of the IALA Council.
The focus of discussion was the draft text of the new IALA Convention, which is designed as an international treaty instrument that will be open for signature by all United Nations member States upon its formal adoption by a Diplomatic Conference. Delegates worked from a consolidated draft text that took account of written comments submitted by National members in the aftermath of the Paris Conference.
This was the first opportunity for multilateral negotiations on the details of the draft text. Yet it was clear from the fruitful discussions that a consensus is emerging on a number of draft provisions, while others will need additional clarification and a further exchange of views. The Secretariat will therefore undertake to amalgamate all results from the two-day conference into a revised draft text for circulation to National members and Points of Contacts in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs for their further comments. Any comments submitted in writing to the Secretary-General before the end of September 2018 will then be taken into account by the Legal Advisory Panel, at its meeting in October 2018, when it will prepare a new, consolidated draft text for submission to a Third Pre-Diplomatic Conference in early 2019.
Meanwhile, delegates were left in no doubt that the draft IALA Convention preserves the essential nature of IALA as a technical, consultative and recommendatory organization. Furthermore, once IGO status becomes a reality, which will be upon fulfilment of the ratification requirements as determined by the formal Diplomatic Conference, Industrial and Associate members will be able to enjoy membership of the new organization. This will ensure the continued cohesion between them and marine aids to navigation providers (the National members), which lies at the heart of IALA’s success as the leading technical knowledge organization in its field of maritime expertise.
Closing the two-day conference, Mr Najib Boulif, Secretary of State to the Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, in charge of Transport, congratulated delegates on their hard work in carrying the momentum of the IGO project forward. They were building a new vision and new ways of working for IALA as an intergovernmental organization that will work in close cooperation with its partner international organizations and enjoy unstinting support from Morocco and other coastal States around the world.