The Organization of American States (OAS) today closed the Third Conference on Environmental Port Management in Montevideo, which advanced the development of a hemispheric agenda for creating a solid and sustainable system of ports based on efficient, environmentally-friendly policies.
"I want to express the commitment of the OAS, made through the Inter-American Committee of Ports (CIP), to facilitate and promote the development of port sector in the Americas that is competitive, modern, strong, sustainable and environmentally friendly," said CIP Secretary Carlos Mladinic at the inauguration of the event, held from May 22 to 24 in the Uruguayan capital.
Many of the environmental concerns were shared by several countries in the region and formed part of the conference agenda. Among these concerns were the importance of environmental management and certification, including environmental impact studies and contingency plans; the increase in air pollution by ship and port activity; pollution from port dredging; the discharge of ballast water; the pollution caused by oil spills and hazardous chemicals and toxic waste management; and visual and auditory pollution in ports.
Mladinic said sustainable port management promotes growth and development of port activity in the long term. He also urged officials and private sector representatives to lead their respective countries toward integrated environmental management and systemic lessons learned during the event. "The OAS recognizes as part of an increasingly globalized economy, the importance of physical regional integration in the hemisphere as a key to the advancement of an Inter-American agenda that allows us greater competitiveness, sustained economic development and prosperity with social equity,” he said.
The CIP Secretary pointed out that, "The Plan of Action, called 'Ports of the Americas: Strengthening Physical Integration and Hemispheric Cooperation for Prosperity,’ aims to promote a hemispheric agenda that support the countries of the region in the development of a solid and sustainable port sector. "The Plan recognizes that a sustainable port management system promotes the growth and development of port activity in a sustained and long term manner, and supports the development of a holistic strategies in four areas: social, economic, institutional and environmental," he added.
Over 120 delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela attended the meeting, which also included speeches by port specialists from various international organizations, including the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Participants at the meeting also discussed the implementation of the CIP’s Action Plan for 2012-2013, adopted in March in Lima, which aims to move ahead toward a hemispheric agenda to support the countries of the region in developing a solid and sustainable port sector in six thematic areas of priority, one of which is Sustainable Port Management and Environmental Protection.
The inaugural session of the event, which was conducted under the auspices of the National Ports Administration (ANP) of Uruguay, was attended by senior officials of the government of Uruguay, led by Enrique Pintado, Minister of Transport and Public Works; Rachel Lejteger , Deputy Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment; Alberto Diaz, President of the National Port Administration; and John Biehl, OAS Representative in Uruguay, among others.
This was the third conference organized by the OAS on Environmental Port Management. The first was held in April 2007 in Panama City and the second in July 2009, in Foz de Iguazu, Brazil.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.