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Next IMO Secretary-General Could be a Win for Diversity

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 3, 2023

Source: IMO

Source: IMO

Seven IMO Member States have nominated a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the IMO in what could be a win for diversity in maritime.

Three of the seven are women, and if elected, Nancy Karigithu of Kenya would also be the first African to hold the post. The other female nominees are Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Dominica) and Minna Kivimäki (Finland).

They are joined by nominees Moin Uddin Ahmed (Bangladesh), Suat Hayri Aka (Türkiye), Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco (Panama) and Zhang Xiaojie (China).

The term of the current incumbent, Kitack Lim of the Republic of Korea, expires on December 31, 2023. The election for the new Secretary-General will take place at IMO headquarters on July 18, and the decision of the Council will be submitted to the 33rd session of the Assembly of IMO in late 2023.

Previous office holders have been:

Ove Nielsen (Denmark) 1959-1961
William Graham (United Kingdom, Acting) 1961-1963
Jean Roullier (France) 1964-1967
Colin Goad (United Kingdom) 1968-1973
Chandrika Prasad Srivastava (India) 1974-1989
William A. O'Neil (Canada) 1990-2003
Efthimios E. Mitropoulos (Greece) 2004-2011
Koji Sekimizu (Japan) 2012-2015
Kitack Lim (Republic of Korea) 2016-

Gender diversity in maritime is extremely fragmented by sector, according to a 2021 study conducted by the IMO and the Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA). The Women in Maritime Survey Report, launched on the first IMO International Day for Women in Maritime in May 2022, indicated that women account for 29% of the overall workforce in the general industry and 20% of the workforce of national maritime authorities in Member States.

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