Minna Kivimäki: What I would do as the next IMO secretary-general

In less than 10 weeks shipping will find out who its next chief regulator will be with voting for the next secretary-general of the International Maritime Organisation scheduled for July 18, and the winner set to take the reins from incumbent Kitack Lim from January 1 next year.

Seven people from four continents have thrown their hats in the ring for the role at the London-based United Nations body including Minna Kivimäki, the permanent secretary at Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Ensuring the IMO is fit for the future is a top priority for Kivimäki if elected.

“For me,” she tells Maritime CEO, “this means building on good governance, trust, inclusion and cooperation, as well as enhancing transparency and cost-efficiency in the secretariat and all IMO organs.”

It also entails strengthening knowledge-based decision-making and data-driven solutions, he says.

When quizzed on whether the IMO needs a serious overhaul, Kivimäki, a career civil servant, points out that like all UN organs, the IMO is what the member states make of it.

“So an overhaul in policy, in shipping regulation, is a question of negotiations in the IMO’s committees, the council and other fora where member states shape the future of shipping,” Kivimäki says, going on to stress her commitment to promote diversity and equality within the secretariat.

In terms of what a Finn temperament brings to a leadership position at a UN body, Kivimäki has a few ideas.

“Citizen trust is something Finland is ranked quite high globally,” she says, something that is based on openness, co-operation and inclusiveness that are core values of the Finnish civil service.

“Finns are generally predictable: if we promise to do something, we follow through,” she says, also pointing out how Finnish leaders have often assumed the role of bridge builders when solving difficult conflicts in the world.

Maritime CEO will be seeking the views of other contenders in the race to become the next IMO secretary-general in the coming weeks.

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