Dominica: PM Roosevelt Skerrit endorses Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry for Secretary-General of IMO

Roseau, Dominica: The Government of the Dominica launched Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry as the Candidate of the Commonwealth of Dominica for the post of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr Roosevelt Skerrit expressed immense gratitude while introducing Doumbia-Henry as the candidature.

Henry was officially named as candidate at a reception to present the candidature of the Commonwealth of Dominica held in London, the United Kingdom on June 5, 2023 from 12:30 pm to 2 pm. The event was organised at the IMP Delegate Lounge, 4 Albert Embankment, London. As per the official statement, the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will be appointed after voting on July 18, 2023.

“Coming from a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) myself, it will be my great honour to lead the Organisation as the first female Secretary General from a developing country,” she stated after being launched as the Candidate for the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Doumbia-Henry, after being appointed as the Candidate, assured that she will foster an inclusive approach at the IMO, facilitating discussions with mater seek collaboration with other international organizations such as the ITF, ICS, UN, ILO and FAO.

She also stated that she will work to elevate the profile of the IMO on the global stage, highlighting is con shaping the future of the maritime sector and will engage the public through comprehensives information campaigns, highlighting the IMO’s successes in promoting shipping as a responsible, safe, efficient, and sustainable mode of transport for global trade.

While shedding light on her plans and strategies for the upliftment of the Organisation she outlined that she will work on strengthening the Global Maritime Community by fostering a strong united global maritime community which is built on integrity, trust, cooperation and shared responsibilities through continued international collaboration and dialogue.

She also mentioned that she will support sustainable growth of the maritime sector relating to Smart Shipping, ensuring that it remains a key driver of the global trade and economic development. In addition to this, Henry promised to become a helping hand for the organisation by fostering innovation, technology adoption.

She stated, “By fostering innovation and technology adoption and best practices, in particular the application of AI in maritime, I will lead the Secretariat in helping member States to develop and update regulations and guidelines to accommodate new technologies, while maintaining the highest safety and environmental standards.”

“The future of work in the maritime sector will be shaped by the intersection of technological advancements, environmental sustainability, as well as a focus on the well-being and skill development of maritime professionals, as we navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, skills such as digital skills will become increasingly important for those working in the maritime sector,” she added.

Henry further outlined that Data fluency, analytics, and computer literacy will be essential tools for the future maritime professionals as they contribute to the industry’s progress and success. She will also spearhead significant efforts to advance the related IMO instruments including the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW), ensuring its continued relevance and effectiveness in the maritime industry.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit expressed pleasure and stated, “It gives me great honour and delight to present Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry for your consideration as the next Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation.”

He added that Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, a woman of integrity, is a towering presence in the Maritime world, who has created a legacy of visionary and transformative leadership defined by excellence, action, and compassion. She began her career at the International Labour Organization in the 1980s and worked across various units within the organization, culminating with her leadership of the Standards Department.

While praising her for her good work towards her nation, PM Skerrit mentioned that as one of the leads in the successful implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006), she oversaw the amendment of three (3) conventions and over 68 International Labour Standards. This led to the adoption and ratification of MLC 2006 by over 97 countries representing over 91% of the world’s gross tonnage of ships.

PM Roosevelt Skerrit further commended Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry for her visionary, inclusive and transformative leadership continued at the World Maritime University. In her eight-year tenure, the University’s endowment fund more than doubled, ensuring its financial viability and sustainability. The University’s footprints increased and deepened with the expansion of and creation of new programme offerings that align with and address today’s critical global issues affecting the maritime sector, cementing its position as a research and training arm for the maritime industry

The Commonwealth of Dominica has nominated Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry for the position of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation. We are confident that her wealth of knowledge, experience, expertise, wide network, diplomatic acumen and transformative leadership are exactly what the International Maritime Organisation needs at this time to strengthen it into an agile, adaptable, resilient and sustainable body.

Prime Minister Skerrit also outlined that Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry has a proven track record of success. Dr Doumbia-Henry has demonstrated that she can deliver, and is ready to take up the mantle as the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation.

“We believe in her abilities and know that she is the right candidate for the position. Let us make history by electing Dr Cleopatra Doumbia Henry the first female and first person from a developing country as the next Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization,” he continued.

“We are counting on your support. Thank you,” he appealed.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Dominica – Dr Vince Henderson, who was also among the attendees of the reception, also congratulated the candidature Cleopatra Doumbia Henry.

“Fostering global consensus, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, a visionary leader, has consistently delivered when and where it matters, to effect transformative change in the institutions she has led and leads. Her candidacy for Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization presents another opportunity for her to bring her visionary and inclusive leadership, wealth of knowledge and experience to build upon and transform the role of the IMO as the leader in the maritime industry,” he conveyed through his message.

The event witnessed the gathering of many leaders from the Caribbean region, including Minister of Foreign Affairs of St Kitts and Nevis – Dr Denzil Douglas. Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General (CSG), was also among the attendees. CSG Scotland extended her support towards the candidature of the Commonwealth of Dominica and wished her luck.