IMO top job: African nations rally support for Shiundu

African member nations in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) are rallying support for the only African in the race for the post of Secretary General in the United Nations (UN) specialized agency.

The Russian Federation, Denmark, Cyprus, Republic of Korea, and the Republic of Phillipines are some of the member states that have already submitted nomination of their nationals for the coveted seat.

With the closure of the date for the submission of nomination for the post of Secretary General, the Government of the Republic of Kenya nominee, Juvenal Shiundu remains the only African in the race.

A Naval Architect by profession, Shiundu is presently the Deputy Director/Head of

Programme Management at the IMO Headquarters, London, United Kingdom.

IMO is the UN specialized agency with a global mandate for maritime safety, security, facilitation of trade and marine environment protection.

Though IMO has many functions, its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair, effective and universally implemented.

The successful candidate will take over from the incumbent, Koji Sekimizu of Japan with effect from January 1, 2016. The appointment to this post is for a four-year term, which is renewable.

Though Sekirnizu is qualified for another term of office, he had declined to seek re-election when he announced last year that he would be stepping down at the expiration of his tenure so that he could have enough time to attend to his ailing wife.

The election process began on December 11, 2014 following formal notification that the post will become vacant on January 1, 2016.

Receiving of nominations for the position of Secretary General position from interested member nations ended on March 31, 2015.

Impeccable sources at the IMO Headquarters said member nations who are of African origin have started rallying support for the Kenyan candidate for the position.

It was gathered that the African member nations in the international organization want to ensure that the only African in the race get support and co-operation of all Africans in the race for the coveted seat.

According to the source, the idea of rallying support for Shiundu is to ensure that he gets the bloc votes from African member states in IMO. Though the African votes alone is not enough to clinch the Secretary General position but we strongly believe that it will boost the chances of Shiundu if he get the votes of all African member nations.

The IMO has 170 member states and three associate members. Kenya joined the organization in 1973. In an aide memoire on the candidature of Shiundu, the Government of Kenya said she highly values the important work being carried out by IMO in the fields of maritime safety, security, facilitation and environmental protection.

According to the memoirs, which was circulated to member states of IMO that will determine who occupies the hot seat next year, Kenya’s long service on the organisation’s council and other key working committees such as the Technical Cooperation is a testimony of her commitment towards the attainment of the IMO’s mandate.

The East African country noted that as a member state of IMO, she is committed to honouring her obligations in accordance with various maritime conventions.

“Kenya has ratified the Kenya Merchant Shipping Act (2009) and other regulations ensure implementation at national level. Kenya’s collaboration with the IMO is longstanding. The country has hosted numerous regional seminars and workshop on technical cooperation with the organization. The Kenya Maritime Authority continues to provide in kind support to IMO in the delivery of the organization technical cooperation activities by hosting regional seminars and workshops.

“Within the Eastern and Central African maritime sector, Kenya is actively engaged with maritime issues. The country hosts four sub-regional organizations dealing with maritime matters, namely Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa which has observer status with IMO; inter-governmental standing committee m Shipping (ISCOS) which comprises four countries Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia”, she added.

Shiundu graduated with a Bachelor of Science with honours degree in Naval

Architecture and Shipbuilding from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United

Kingdom in 1983 and with a master’s degree in Maritime Safety Administration (Marine Engineering) from the World Maritime University (WMU), Malmo, Sweden, in 1986.

He is an alumnus of the Ashridge Business School, United Kingdom and has also attended many management and leadership development courses.

Prior to joining IMO 17 years ago, Shiundu was the General Manager of African Marine and General Engineering Company Limited, Mombasa, Kenya, the largest shipyard on the East African Coast where he rose through the ranks in the shipbuilding and ship repairing industry to the level of General Manager.

He had previously worked for Kenya Ports Authority as Assistant Merchant Shipping Superintendent. Between 1990 and 1996, he was also a registered consultant in the maritime sector to a number of UN agencies as well as the World Bank.

He carried out a number of technical advisory and assistance consultancy missions in different countries to assess, inter alia, physical facilities (ports, ships, navigation aids and human resources), maritime safety, port concessioning, privatization and financing, training, regulations and marine pollution challenges.

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