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WISTA Conference and AGM Geneva cover Collaboration of Sustainability

wista international

Published Nov 10, 2022 11:55 AM by The Maritime Executive

[By: WISTA International]

During the AGM, held on 26 October in Geneva, Switzerland, WISTA International members unanimously voted to approve two new countries as members UAE and Denmark, bringing the total number to 56.

Mrs Jocelyn Hansen, the President of WISTA Denmark commented: “As the newly elected President of WISTA Denmark, it is my privilege to be here in Geneva at the WISTA International AGM & Conference. This is a fantastic opportunity to present the newly re-established WISTA Denmark and bring women together across the industry throughout the world to build a network and share knowledge and expertise.”

Mrs Rania Tadros, the President of WISTA UAE, declaired: ‘I am truly honored to be the President of WISTA UAE and look forward to working with the many people in the industry who are equally committed to diversity and inclusion. Attending the AGM in Geneva and meeting with some leading women in the industry, has truly inspired me and our mission is to grow WISTA in the UAE, through recognition and promotion of the significant contribution that women make to the industry.’

The WISTA International Conference, held on 27 and 28 October 2022, gathered leaders from the maritime industry who explored over the two days the theme of the conference  "Collaboration for Sustainability" and "Cross-Industry Solutions for the Future" of the industry.

In the one-and-a-half-day conference, WISTA International members and guests worldwide shared their knowledge and experiences and discussed decarbonisation and ocean health. They also discussed the challenges faced in attracting talent in the maritime, the importance of diverse voices in the workforce and the actions needed to secure the industry's future.

In his opening keynote speech to the conference, Secretary General Lim Kitack of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) highlighted the essential role WISTA International played in developing a sustainable future.

Mr Kitack stated, "IMO is founded on the principles of collaboration between Member States, NGOs and IGOs, who must all work together to ensure a sustainable future for shipping and the wider industry. As one of the international non-governmental organisations that participates in IMO discussions, WISTA International is an important part of this collaborative effort. The maritime world is rapidly changing and we must use every opportunity to ensure a greener and more secure future. IMO is committed to making maritime more welcoming to women, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, which aspires to 'Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls'.

Maritime is still a male-dominated industry

  • Women represent only 29% of the overall workforce in the maritime industry
  • 20% of the women workforce of national maritime authorities in the Member States
  • Women working at sea is 1.2% per cent

The inaugural IMO-WISTA Women in Maritime Survey, published to coincide with International Day for Women in Maritime, showed that women account for only 29% of the overall workforce in the general industry - and 20% of the workforce of national maritime authorities in the Member States. The proportion of women working at sea is far lower – just 1.2% per cent. 

"The biggest factor in shaping our collective future is ensuring that we encourage new waves of women leaders. Through our partnership with WISTA International, IMO's Women in Maritime programme sponsored 30 women from developing countries to take part in the first Maritime SheEO leadership accelerator programme in 2022. This eight-week programme was such a success that we sponsored a second group of female leaders, who will graduate later this year."  He concluded.

5 panels and 3 workshops to empower women while promoting sustainability, diversity and innovation

WISTA International Conference was based on two main pillars of knowledge and collaboration to unlocking the full potential of the maritime industry. The program included five panels and three workshops.

  • Panel one: A NEW ENERGY LANDSCAPE, by Maryana Yarmolenko Stober, President WISTA Switzerland & Associate General Counsel EMEA, ADM. And The Black Sea Grain Initiative: Moving ships in a war risk area by Fred Kenney, Director, Legal and External Affairs, IMO.
  • Panel two: CONFLICTS, TRADE AND FOOD SECURITY, was moderated by Olena Isaieva, Commodity Sector Solutions Lead, KPMG. 
  • Panel three: WORKFORCE SHORTAGE AND UPSKILLING Nam.
  • Panel four: MARITIME DECARBONIZATION was moderated by Helena Athoussaki, Head of ESG, Sustainability & Climate Change, Motor Oil Group.
  • Panel five: OCEAN HEALTH – How does the maritime industry involve collaborative approaches to advance solutions and uptake? Moderator: Gina Panayiotou, ESG Manager, West of England P&I Club.

The conference on the second day held three workshops:

  • AWS – WISTA Switzerland Workshop: Diversity can nurture innovation in a more equitable world
  • Sustainability Intrapreneurship – Promoting Innovation for Sustainability Inside an Organisatio
  • Empowering Women in Trade: How policies, training and ESG will be the catalyst for success

The closing keynote was Dorothea Ioannou, CEO of the American P&I Club and a WISTA member, who delivered a powerful address "The increasing number of women in leadership positions, myself included, especially in male-dominated sectors like marine insurance, reflects a natural evolution of a changing talent pool. But that is not the whole picture. (…) I was fortunate enough to work for an organisation which was and is non-gender biased. (…) I did this with the support of many people along the way and this is the key insight I wish to impart to all of you. It is within the power of each one of us to make a difference. To create an environment where we do not just empower people. But where we enable people, we as managers and as employers and generally as professionals have an obligation to cultivate an environment which opens pathways for those we identify as capable of taking on more and who wants to take on more. (…) And I love the word enable, that we become that person that others want to work with and for, and most importantly, that we prepare those around us and come up behind us to occupy our space before we leave it. (…) To reach a point where the first female anything is no longer news, we need to think about what we, individually and then collectively in organisations, are doing to get us there."

Elpi Petraki, President of WISTA International: "Discussions throughout this conference demonstrated forcefully that, whether the challenges relate to decarbonisation, diversity or ESG, the most effective solutions come through collaboration. As the new President of WISTA International, I look forward to building on the progressive approach established in Geneva and on the standards set by my predecessor to promote sustainability and innovation, improve diversity and achieve gender equality across the maritime industries. Working together, we can bring about real change for the good of all."

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