Yesterday saw the opening of the week long meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy on the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). The 19th plenary of the CGPCS and related working group meetings are held in Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles from 31st of May to 3rd of June. Over 27 national delegations and representative from 25 international organizations and non-governmental organizations participate in the meeting. The main purpose of the meeting held under the slogan “from the region to the region: creating a lasting legacy” is to take stock of the current counter-piracy provisions and develop a transition strategy for the group and its activities.
The first day was comprised of three sessions. The first session included welcome addresses by the current chairmen, H.E. Joel Morgan, the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Somalia Ahmed Ali Dahir and the Seychelles Vice President Danny Faure. In his opening address the H.E. Morgan emphasized that the CGPCS is at a cross road, but not yet at the end point. Piracy remains a considerable threat in the region and ongoing efforts will be required for sustaining the current success. Following a coffee break, a range of updates were provided. Jaque Belle from the CGPCS secreteriat gave an overview over the Mumbai recommendations, H.E. Marjaana Sall from the European Union gave an update on the future of the EU counter-piracy projects indicating that the EU will stay active in the region past 2016. EU Navfor provided an operational update arguing that the threat assessment of SHADE had not changed since last year and that the potential of a return of piracy remained high. Finally, UNODC gave a brief overview of the state of prisons and prosecutions.
The third session was devoted to the future of the CGPCS. In an open debate first the Mumbai recommendations were discussed and then the different options for the future of the CGPCS deliberated. Dr. Bueger from Cardiff University gave a presentation summarizing the advantages of different options. He emphasized the importance of keeping the group a living organism and focusing the transition strategy on concrete items and tasks. In the following debate, delegations laid out their preferences for the future of the CGPCS. The majority of delegations argued for streamlining the work of the group while ensuring that its brand and label remained and the core tasks are still performed. Major questions concerned which parts of the CGPCS could be transfered to other institutions such as the UNODC Regional Maritime Crime Forum. The day ended with a reception hosted by the Government of the Seychelles. The presentations and briefings given during the day will be made available in due course.