A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (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 September 18, 2014.
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.
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.