THE PHILIPPINES is proud to put forward Dr. Maximo Q. Mejia Jr. as its candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization. With education and experience in maritime affairs spanning three decades, awareness and exposure across all the world’s continents, and an inclusive and results-oriented leadership style, Dr. Mejia possesses the qualities necessary to build on the work of past Secretaries-General and lead the Organization to further success: streamlined administration, effective implementation of standards, and a positive image of the maritime sector.
With education and experience in maritime affairs spanning three decades, awareness and exposure across all the world’s continents, and an inclusive and results-oriented leadership style, Dr. Mejia possesses the qualities necessary to build on the work of past Secretaries-General and lead the Organization to further success: streamlined administration, effective implementation of standards, and a positive image of the maritime sector.
In Dr. Mejia we can expect a competent leader, skilled at mediating between the interests of states and stakeholders, while at the same time taking a determined stance on maritime safety, security, and environmental protection.
WITH a professional career spent exclusively in the maritime sector, Dr. Mejia’s technical credentials, competence, and experience have been accumulated over three decades. Starting as a 19-year-old midshipman in the United States Naval Academy, he has moved on to serve in the following capacities:
• OIC of navigational watch on board Philippine Navy & Coast Guard ships
• Commanding Officer, Port State Control Office Manila
• Station Commander, Coast Guard Station Iligan
• Deputy Executive Director, Presidential Task Force on Maritime Development
• Director for Navigational Safety, Philippine Coast Guard
• Professor of Maritime Law & Policy, World Maritime University
• Administrator, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)
His formal education has been a consistent and increasing specialization in maritime affairs, law, and policy:
• BSc, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, USA
• MALD, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Medford, MA, USA
• MSc, World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden
• PhD, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Dr. Mejia is thoroughly familiar with the work of IMO. He has attended various IMO meetings since 1994 and has headed delegations from the Philippines in recent years. He has served as a member of the IMO-STCW Panel of Competent Persons and has for 15 years served as a resident member of faculty at the World Maritime University (WMU), IMO’s apex institution for higher maritime studies. Through his many years as professor, he was afforded the privilege of teaching, interacting, and engaging in open discussion with maritime officials from all over the world undergoing graduate studies at the WMU.
International Profile and Recognition
INTERNATIONAL cooperation plays a vital role in addressing the most pressing issues that relate to maritime safety, security, and environmental protection, especially during these challenging times. Whether education or seafarers certification, or even the ratification of environmental conventions, down to providing guidance for the improvement of domestic ferry safety, Dr. Mejia’s extensive experience in cross-national and cross-cultural situations makes him a most suitable mediator or bridge between worlds.
He hails from East Asia, one of the most vibrant regions for maritime commerce today. Yet he also lived in the US for seven years and in Sweden for 17 years, and experienced and witnessed first-hand the resilience and adaptability of the shipping sectors in the more established maritime economies of Europe and North America. He is productive and at ease working in multi-cultural environments with different teams of varied nationalities. He has also taught and spoken at international conferences in more than 30 different countries. In 2013, Dr. Mejia was cited in the Lloyd’s List 100 Most Influential People in the Shipping Industry ̶ a testament to both international recognition and respect. His truly international outlook will be put to good service at the IMO.
Dynamic leadership, creative solutions
DR. MEJIA’s dynamism exudes an abiding faith in the power of cooperation, the strength of consensus, and the understanding achieved through open communication.
He is known for creative solutions to the most complex maritime issues. He is the architect of current reform efforts in the system of STCW implementation in the Philippines that has involved more than a dozen government agencies and the private sector interest groups.
He coordinated and steered the government response to the transport crisis in the ferry town of Matnog in the aftermath of the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.
At WMU, Dr. Mejia participated in initiatives from concept to launch and execution, including the publication series WMU Studies in Maritime Affairs, the WMU Doctoral Studies Program, and the WMU-Lund Joint Maritime LLM Program.
Dr. Mejia’s management style is inclusive, characterized by regular public consultations, dialogues with stakeholders, and an open-office policy. A sense of duty with a can-do attitude pervades his work ethic. He listens, is open-minded, and learns from others’ points-of-view. He is prepared to engage partners appropriately at every level.
A global vision for IMO
AS Secretary-General, Dr. Mejia will work tirelessly with member-states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to maintain and secure IMO’s role as the venue for the formulation of global standards for shipping. Safety and efficiency in maritime transport can only be afforded by international — not unilateral or regional — regulations.
In broad strokes, below are some of Dr. Mejia’s priority areas for the Organization.
The promotion of maritime safety remains the most important function of the IMO. Even as it expands its activities beyond its traditional functions, the focus and emphasis on maritime safety must remain its most primordial concern.
Human element, seafarer welfare, safety, and competence
When the global economy recovers and demand for shipping services begins to surge, so will the demand for qualified seafarers through the STCW Convention, while at the same time safeguarding their rights and welfare.
Maritime environmental protection
In formulating standards for the protection of the marine environment, the Organization must ensure that international shipping stays ahead of other transport modes in contributing to the pursuit of a sustainable future.
Piracy, armed robbery against ships, transport of migrants under substandard conditions, and other unlawful acts at sea continue to threaten maritime security. The sharing of best practices and implementation of regulations and other measures must be followed with regional discussions on socioeconomic factors that abet criminality.
Women in maritime
The world’s female population remains an enormous untapped source of competent and qualified maritime professionals. Greater effort should be taken to encourage their entry in the maritime industry, seagoing as well as shore-based.
Efficient formulation and effective implementation of standards
To ensure highest practicable regulations, the standards formulation process should strongly consider both capabilities and limitations of administrations and stakeholders. Also, effective implementation of existing IMO standards and instruments must be strengthened.
IMO should pursue its ongoing drive towards greater efficiency, fiscal responsibility, and organizational reform. It should also take advantage of information and communications technology to optimize productivity in IMO meetings and processes.
Open, responsive, inclusive
Dr. Mejia will bring an inclusive approach and style to IMO, encouraging discussions with member-states, observer delegations, stakeholders, and the Secretariat, as well as continually reach out to collaborate with other international organizations.
IMO must engage the public in a comprehensive information campaign to highlight the Organization’s successes in promoting shipping as a responsible sector that provides the safest, most efficient, and sustainable mode of transport for world trade.
Technical cooperation programs are the best way to raise the level of compliance and implementation in many member-states; more creative ideas to secure funding for technical assistance programs must be developed.
Technology and innovation
IMO must formulate relevant regulations in a timely manner to ensure that technology contributes to common objectives, including the reduction of administrative burdens. Technology should simplify rather than complicate matters, with a focus on user-centered design. The fullest potentials of technology must be realized, but its risks must be properly managed at the same time.
Development of future maritime leaders
The IMO, through the World Maritime University, its apex institution for higher maritime studies, together with the International Maritime Law Institute, its training arm for developing maritime law specialists, must continue to produce and develop future maritime leaders and policymakers. In this connection, the long term financial sustainability of these two institutions must be secured.
Download Dr. Mejia’s CV (678 Kb).