The International Liaison Branch is a small team based in Southampton who are responsible for facilitating the United Kingdoms representation at International meetings, primarily the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, and the European Union (EU).
IMO sessions typically last for one week and are held in their headquarters building in London, there are around 15 of these meetings in a calendar year. For a typical meeting there can be between 40 and 200 papers up for discussion. One member of the Branch heads up the UK delegation to the IMO and requires a full set of papers as well as a brief for each paper outlining the UKs view on the paper. This enables the head of delegation to present and negotiate the UK positions at the IMO session.
The most important task is to check the IMO’s dedicated document website daily for new papers, to download them, log them on to a database held within the Branch and send them to the relevant expert requesting that they provide an outline of the UKs position regarding the paper.
For each IMO session the Branch holds a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the UKs industry views on issue that will be discussed at that session. These meetings are held in Southampton and the arrangements, such as room booking, invites and preparation of documents are a key task for this role.
Travel and accommodation arrangements need to be made for Branch members who will attend the IMO or the EU in Brussels.
For each IMO session all those attending as part of the UK delegation need to be registered. Once the names have been obtained and cleared these must be logged through the IMO website. Some meetings require credentials, these come in the form of a letter from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to the IMO, in these cases as well as the standard registration the FCO need to be instructed to write to the IMO.
While the Branch receive many enquiries either in person, by telephone or through the Branch’s generic email address. Monitoring of the email is an essential task ensuring that a response within a set service standard or a passed to the appropriate person.
As the role develops there are likely to be opportunities to become involved in other aspect of the Branch work such as finance and host government issues (including landlord related tasks). There is also scope for possible visits to London to the IMO.
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