The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh have signed a landmark agreement to work together to improve safety and environmental standards in the country’s ship-recycling industry.
A Memorandum of Understanding formalizing the cooperation between the two was signed by Nicolaos Charalambous, Director, Technical Cooperation Division, IMO and Md. Ashadul Islam, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division of the Ministry of Finance of the Government of Bangladesh, on April 10 2014.
IMO and Bangladesh will jointly implement a project entitled “Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh – Phase I”. With an annual gross tonnage capacity of more than 8.8 million, the Bangladeshship recycling industry is one of the world’s most important, second only to neighboring India in terms of volume.
The project, aimed at improving standards and sustainability within the industry, will consist of five work packages, covering studies on economic and environmental impacts and on the management of hazardous materials and wastes, recommendations on strengthening the Government’s One-Stop Service (in which all the various ministries with a responsibility for ship recycling – e.g. Industries, Environment, Labor, Shipping – offer a single point of contact for related matters), a review and upgrade of existing training courses and the development of a detailed project document for a possible follow-up project to implement the recommendations of phase I.
It will be executed by the Marine Environment Division of IMO, in partnership with the Ministry of Industries of Bangladesh, over the next 18 months. The Bangladeshi ministry will coordinate input from the different stakeholder ministries within the country, while IMO will also collaborate with other relevant UN agencies including the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to ensure successful delivery of the project.
The principal funding for the project will come from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), while the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS)* will also support the project by mobilizing some EU funding towards the work package related to the management of hazardous materials, which will partly be implemented by BRS.
IMO, the Government of Bangladesh, Norad, and BRS have been working towards the establishment of this project for a number of years. It demonstrates a major commitment from the Government of Bangladesh to improve safety and environmental standards within this vital industry.
*Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, 1989; Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, 1998; Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 2001.