United Nations General Assembly Continues to Recognize the Important Role of WMU

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on 31 December 2020 during its seventy-fifth session, adopted by 152 votes Resolution A/75/239 on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. The Resolution calls upon States that have not done so to become parties to the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and also calls for States to harmonize their national legislation with the provisions of the Convention. Further, the Resolution recognizes that “the realization of the benefits of the Convention could be enhanced by international cooperation, technical assistance and advanced scientific knowledge, as well as by funding and capacity-building.”

The United Nations General Assembly meeting on oceans and the law of the sea, 8 December 2020. Photo credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The Resolution continues, for an eleventh consecutive year since 2009, to recognize the importance of the World Maritime University (WMU) of the International Maritime Organization, as a centre of excellence for maritime education, research and capacity building. Paragraph 31 "recognizes the importance of the World Maritime University of  the International Maritime Organization, as a centre of excellence for maritime education and research, confirms its effective capacity-building role in the field of  maritime transportation, policy, administration, management, safety, security and  environmental protection, as well as its role in the international exchange and transfer  of knowledge, notes the role of the World Maritime University-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, and urges States, intergovernmental organizations and other bodies to make voluntary financial contributions to the University’s Endowment Fund."

The UN General Assembly, through this resolution further emphasizes that capacity-building is essential to ensure that States, especially developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, as well as coastal African States, are able to fully implement the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, benefit from the sustainable development of the oceans and seas and participate fully in global and regional forums on ocean affairs and the law of the sea. It stresses the need for further efforts to promote a culture of safety and security in the shipping industry and to address the shortage of adequately trained personnel, and urges the development and strengthening of capacity-building activities and the provision of knowledge and skills through the required education and training, promoted in particular by the International Maritime Organization in collaboration with other relevant international organizations and agencies, as appropriate.  

Since its establishment by the IMO in 1983, WMU has positioned itself to be the world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and ocean education, research and professional training, while building global capacity and promoting sustainable development. To date, there are 5,392 WMU alumni from 170 countries and territories. Since 2016, more than 30 percent of WMU students in Malmö are female, and overall 1,181 women have graduated from WMU. 

As an entity within the UN system, WMU is an institution established by and for the international maritime community and is committed to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) relevant to education, gender equality, peace and justice, decent work and economic growth, energy efficiency, sustainable industrialization and innovation, climate change, the oceans and partnerships.

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