Monica Mbanefo is gathering support for her bid to become the next Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization
. A substantial
number of the 162 member states of IMO have already declared their support
for her in advance of the elections in June 2003.
Mbanefo is currently Director of the Conference Division of IMO. She says,
"IMO is at a critical point in its development and it is important for the
whole maritime world that the Secretary-General who follows Bill O'Neil's
successful period in office should combine both experience of the maritime
world and demonstrable competence in running a large specialized UN agency.
I'm proud that the African Union has proposed me as a candidate for the post
and pleased at the degree of international support I have received already."
A qualified barrister, Mbanefo worked for the Federal Ministry of Justice of
Nigeria from 1973 - 1991, drafting laws and representing Nigeria in various
international organizations. In 1991 she was appointed Senior Deputy
Director/Head of the Legal Office of IMO. In this capacity she was Secretary
to the IMO Legal Committee and to several diplomatic conferences which,
amongst other things, led to the successful adoption of the 1992 CLC and
Fund Protocols, the HNS Convention and the Arrest of Ships 1999 Convention.
Mbanefo restructured the Legal Office of IMO to improve its efficiency, and
in 1999 was promoted to Director, Conference Division. She is now in charge
of over one third of IMO's staff, and for the last four years has focused on
strengthening and reinforcing efficiency throughout the organization.
Supporters of Mbanefo say that, in addition to her managerial skills, which
will benefit efficiency at IMO, she has the ability to unite member states
and so improve implementation of existing regulations. To date, four
European nations including two EU states, the forty African Union states
and substantial majorities of Latin American and Asian states have indicated
that they support her candidature.