Dutch Embassy UK conducts IMO campaign with Jamaican and Bahamian colleagues
European and Caribbean countries do not often work together internationally, but it can work well, as the embassies of Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in London prove. The three embassies have joined forces to gain support from other European and Caribbean countries for a seat at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for which elections are scheduled for November 25.
The Dutch Embassy had invited delegates from European countries with whom they often collaborate to an EU-CARICOM meeting at the residence of Ambassador Simon Smits on 29 October 2019, and in turn the High Commissions of the Bahamas and Jamaica had also invited their network for this meeting. What started as a campaign for participation in the IMO has therefore already resulted in a broader network of countries that do not often come together on the international stage.
Why a seat at the IMO?
The Netherlands is a seafaring nation. More than 2,200 ships worldwide sail under the Dutch flag and around 30,000 people work on these ships. The Netherlands is also one of the founders of the International Maritime Organization, an organization that promotes safe and sustainable shipping. Until now, the Netherlands always had a seat at the London-based IMO, but interest in this organisation is growing and therefore a seat is no longer guaranteed. Hence, every two years the Dutch have to campaign to keep their IMO seat. Jamaica and the Bahamas, as islands also very dependent on shipping, of course, are not a competitor of the Netherlands in this race, because the two Caribbean countries go for a seat in category C, while the Netherlands is fighting for a seat in category B.
Dutch Embassy London took the initiative for cooperation
"We had never worked together in this way before, but for me it was obvious," said Dutch Ambassador (and Permanent Representative at IMO) Simon Smits. “I thought it would be a good idea to do this. The Jamaican High Commissioner is my neighbour and moreover we - as countries - are practically neighbours too. Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustasius and Saba are all in the Caribbean."
IMO elections in week commencing 25 November
Whether the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Jamaica and the Bahamas will all win a IMO seat becomes clear in the election week commencing 25 November. One win is already secured: a foundation has been layed for more EU-CARICOM cooperations in the near future.
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