WMU Regional Conference for the Americas Commences
The WMU Regional Conference for the Americas opened on 23 October in Lima, Peru in partnership with the Dirección General de Capitanías y Guardacostas (DICAPI). The three-day event is bringing together over 200 participants from 22 countries across the Americas to address the topic of Maritime and Port Sectors in the Americas - Challenges and opportunities in light of the SDGs.
WMU President, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, delivered the opening remarks. She noted that with the focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it was particularly fitting that the conference should take place at the same period as the United Nations Day that is celebrated annually on 24 October. She stated, “We all have an important role to play in advancing the UN 2030 Agenda, and today we have come together to focus on how we can work toward that goal within the maritime and port sectors of the Americas. Governments alone cannot implement the SDGs. Collaboration with the private sector, civil society, universities and educational institutions will be required to achieve the 17 ambitious goals.” She called on the region, which plays an important role in shipping and ports and which has one of the biggest ocean spaces, to take advantage of the 456 WMU alumni – a global cadre of trained experts from the region - to address the challenges, take advantage of the opportunities to support implementation of the UNSDGs in the maritime, ports sectors and with respect to the oceans.
Mr. Lawrence Barchue, a 1991 WMU graduate and Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Member State Audit and Implementation Support for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) delivered remarks on behalf of IMO. Vice Admiral Manuel Santiago Váscones Morey, General Director Captaincies and Coastguard National Maritime Authority (DICAPI) delivered welcoming remarks on behalf of DICAPI and noted the strong ties between WMU and Peru as well as Peru’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. Vice Admiral Vascones also noted the work done by the Peruvian Maritime Authority in order to achieve a high level of organization and availability of means to fulfill responsibilities of Perú as a flag State, port State and coastal State.
WMU Faculty members who are participating as speakers or moderators include Professor Larry Hildebrand, Professor Takeshi Nakazawa and Associate Professor María Carolina Romero Lares, who is the Chair of the conference Organizing Committee. In addition, several WMU alumni are speakers at the conference and WMU alumni from 18 different countries are in attendance.
The event is the first of its kind in the region and is focused on the development of initiatives, strategies and alliances for the advancement of the maritime and port sectors in the region, highlighting the importance of postgraduate maritime and oceans education, research and capacity building for the Americas. As a result of the conference, a WMU Regional Alumni Association for the Americas will be established. Recognizing the tremendous impact WMU Alumni are achieving as maritime leaders in terms of the UN 2030 Agenda, WMU is looking forward to the intensified regional collaboration and evolving partnerships as a result of the Conference.