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Kenyan eyes UN job

Ambassador Nancy Karigithu officially launched her campaign seeking to be elected as the next Secretary General (SG) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Karigithu is Africa’s endorsed candidate for leadership at the helm of the Global Maritime Regulator for the Shipping and Maritime industry.

The launch campaign themed ‘Charting a limitless sustainable future together ‘aims at providing clean, safe and efficient shipping that supports both the planet and its people in a need to attain the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Karigithu is eyeing to take a top leadership position in the United Nation (UN) body from its current holder, South Korean National, Mr. Kitak Lim, whose term ends in December 2023 noting that she is the first woman to vie for the seat in over 75 years.

Speaking on Wednesday during the campaign launch at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Alfred Mutua said that Kenya and African Union (AU) resolved to support Karigithu as she is well versed and has unmatched experience in delivering strategic leadership at various levels in the global maritime sector.

Mutua said that Kenya looks forward to working with other players in charting a sustainable future as well as building a consensus on some of the most complex issues enabling a common action in favour of shared objectives of the IMO membership.

“A United Nations System that is well aligned to the current world situation is able to address emerging issues including climate change in a harmonized and inclusive environment that leaves no one behind,” remarked Mutua.

Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, Cabinet Secretary (CS) Salim Mvurya said that Karigithu’s quest for the top UN maritime seat comes at a time when IMO is addressing major issues such as automation of shipping, digitization and decarbonisation.

He acknowledged that it is Kenya’s view that IMO continues to be a platform on which issues are agreed upon citing that with the ambassador as the SG it will be possible for member states to build a consensus and remain relevant now as well as in the future.

On her part, Karigithu exuded confidence in her election victory for the agency’s post as she is recently nominated and endorsed by AU as the continent’s sole candidate for the post in the African region, noting that in the previous week, Kenya had re-affirmed and endorsed her candidature under President William Ruto who voiced that the ambassador is a highly acknowledged maritime expert with a proven commitment to the course of the global maritime interests.

“I strongly believe that with my experience in the maritime sector spanning over 36 years, l am in a position to become the next Secretary General of IMO as I have the necessary competency and attributes for this top UN position,” said Karigithu.

Under her tenure as the SG, Karigithu aims to provide an effective platform through multilateralism for the transition into green shipping via partnerships, inclusive leadership, global cooperation, technical cooperation and collaboration highlighting areas of focus as follows, Global Impact, Modernization, Inclusivity and diversity among others.

She also promised to spearhead the just and equitable transition of the decarbonisation of the maritime industry through IMO greenhouse gas reduction initiatives so as to realise global equity, social justice and technological inclusivity through building and championing for more women in the management cadres of the maritime sector in Association of Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMESA).

Karigithu vowed to continue the modernization of the IMO Secretariat while streamlining the organization’s program activities especially in areas of governance, security and attainment of United Nation Sustainable Development Groups (UNSDGs) along with increasing robust participation, involvement of Global South particularly developing countries towards IMO decision making meetings and activities especially in London Convection (LDC) and Seafarers Identification Document (SIDs).

IMO’s SG Elections are scheduled to take place on the 18 July this year at the organization’s headquarters in London.

The campaign launch was graced by Shipping and Maritime Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Shadrack Mwadime, Diaspora Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Roseline Njogu, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Diplomats.

By Phinta Amondi and Sophy Adhiambo

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