Panama’s Dominguez Elected Next IMO Secretary-General
Panama’s delegate to the International Maritime Organization and the current head of the IMO’s Maritime Environment Protection Division, Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco, emerged victorious among the seven candidates vying to become the next Secretary-General of the organization. He was selected in balloting today at the IMO’s council meeting underway this week to set the agenda for the organization.
The election for the next leader of the IMO comes at a critical time as the organization faces increasing pressure to act on environmental policies to address carbon emissions and other harmful greenhouse gasses in addition to the other challenges to the maritime industry. The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80) adopted new targets to accelerate the initiatives which were welcomed by the shipping industry but criticized by environmentalists. It will fall to the next Secretary-General to help guide the efforts and convert the targets into meaningful programs.
Arsenio Domínguez's started the campaign for the leadership position in December 2022 using the theme “Taking the lead, for a united and better future.” He said he aims to serve IMO by “putting people and planet first.”
Domínguez is currently serving as the director of the Marine Environment Division, a position he assumed in 2017, as well as a member of the Senior Management Committee of the IMO. He was first appointed in 2004 as the alternate representative of Panama to the IMO and starting in 2014 he was appointed Ambassador of Panama to the IMO. Dominguez, who is a naval architect, has more than 25 years of professional experience in the international maritime world, and is marking his twentieth year at the IMO.
“For Panama as a maritime country, it is an honor that Arsenio Dominguez, son of this country, has been elected today as the new Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization - IMO. A historic day that fills us with great pride,” Tweeted the President of the Republic of Panama Nito Cortizo congratulating Dominguez after the election.
Dominguez reportedly emerged as the leading candidate winning the election today after several rounds of secret ballots. He becomes the first Latin American to hold the position of IMO Secretary-General.
The election of Dominguez is receiving broad support among the shipping industry. Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping among many others quickly issued a statement congratulating Dominguez and thanking Lim.
“The position of IMO Secretary-General is not an easy one, and there are undoubtedly challenges ahead as the industry strives to meet the 2030, 2040, and 2050 targets, but it will be a pleasure to tackle these challenges head-on with Mr. Dominguez for a better and safer future for our industry and its people,” said Platten.
A total of seven individuals had been entered into nomination to succeed Kitack Lim of the Republic of Korea, who completes his second and final term on December 31, 2023. The other candidates included
Moin Uddin Ahmed of Bangladesh, Suat Hayri Aka of Turkey, Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry of Dominica, Nancy Karigithu of Kenya, Minna Kivimäki of Finland, and Zhang Xiaojie of China.
The decision of the IMO Council will be submitted to the 33rd session of the Assembly of IMO in late 2023. The Assembly will be invited to approve the appointment with Dominguez assuming the leadership position for a four-year term on January 1, 2024.