|Date||12 December 2001|
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Agenda item 172
Observer status for the International Hydrographic Organization in the General Assembly
The Assembly will now take a decision on the draft resolution recommended by the Sixth Committee in paragraph 7 of its report.
The Sixth Committee adopted the draft resolution without a vote. May I consider that the Assembly wishes to do the same?
In accordance with the resolution just adopted, I now give the floor to the observer for the International Hydrographic Organization.
I am speaking on behalf of Rear Admiral Angrisano, President of the Directing Committee of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). Admiral Angrisano sends his regrets at not being here to address the Assembly personally on this important occasion.
The IHO is very grateful to the General Assembly for having endorsed the recommendation of the Sixth Committee to grant observer status to the IHO in the General Assembly as it appears in document A/56/597. We also wish to thank the Government of the Principality of Monaco, host country of the IHO, for taking the initiative of presenting this proposal to the Assembly.
As members know, the IHO is an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization governed by a convention that was registered at the United Nations on 22 September 1970. The objectives of the organization are to coordinate the activities of national hydrographic offices, encourage the greatest possible uniformity in nautical charts, support the adoption of reliable and efficient methods of carrying out and exploiting hydrographic surveys, and advance the development of the sciences in the field of hydrography and the techniques employed in descriptive oceanography.
The IHO is fully committed to implementing United Nations resolutions related to the Law of the Sea Convention. Our work, which is aimed at achieving adequate global hydrographic data coverage, contributes significantly to the safety of navigation and to the protection of the marine environment. Without systematic collection and evaluation of the data related to coastal topography, aids to navigation, bathymetry, tides and currents, it is impossible to produce reliable navigational charts. Scientists and administrators also need adequate parameters to study and take measures for marine environmental management.
The profile of the IHO is as follows. At present, the IHO counts 70 member States, plus 8 pending. All the main maritime States are IHO members and employ thousands of personnel in their national hydrographic offices throughout the world. The survey fleet totals approximately 350 ships, plus a considerable number of survey launches and some aircraft. Forty member States provide training courses for national and international students, and one international maritime academy provides training courses for developing countries. Three member States produce a world-wide nautical chart portfolio. These are 15 regional hydrographic commissions to look after the local development of hydrography, and 20 committees and working groups to produce and update standards and develop the International Hydrographic Organization strategies.
The IHO is fully committed to the development of hydrography in regions such as Africa, Central America, the Middle East, East Asia and Eastern Europe.
The IHO membership is open to all countries, and new members are most welcome to join. The development of hydrography and charting significantly benefits countries which have under their jurisdiction sea and internal waters, supporting national and international trade and transportation. Membership also contributes to preservation of the marine environment, in view of various sustainable development activities such as tourism and exploitation of living and mineral resources.
The IHO cooperates on an ongoing basis with the United Nations and its specialized agencies and actively participates in their meetings, conferences and assemblies. We recognize the importance of the invitation made to the IHO by the United Nations membership as it appears in paragraph 33 of Assembly resolution 56/12 of 28 November 2001.
I would like to conclude by simply reiterating our thanks to the entire membership of the General Assembly for granting the IHO the observer status that will enable it to strengthen its cooperation with all interested nations.
May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to conclude its consideration of agenda item 172?