On 28th October, at the 17th Plenary of the CGPCS, Dr. Christian Bueger (Cardiff University) was invited to update Contact Group members on the progress of the Lessons Learned Project. His presentation outlined a number of initial conclusions from the project’s work and delineated a number of functions that have been performed by the CGPCS. These functions included:
- Networking: the group allows members to find the right people to share labour with to get the job done.
- Learning: Learning what others are doing and what challenges they are facing. But also to introduce newcomers to the game who just have taken over the portfolio.
- Trust: The Group builds trust by creating transparency and developing a shared knowledge base.
- Aligning perspectives and interests: The core contribution of the group is that in each meeting a shared narrative is developed, of where the CGPCS has come from and where it has to go. This involves agreeing on a common definition of the problem and manufacturing consent (and implies hard labour especially by the team of the chairmen).
- Attention: The groups ensures that attention remains high and raises awareness in governments and also helps to convince the region that piracy is (also) an African problem.
Dr. Bueger argued that the CGPCS had been able to successfully execute these functions as a result of its multi-layered approach (involving a mix between specialist working groups, diplomats and ‘implementers’). He concluded by noting that while it is doubtful whether the same mechanism as the CGPCS could be used in combating maritime crime in general, the multi-layered approach and experimental type of governance embodied in the CGPCS could provide a major role model.