The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) has succeeded the Republic of Seychelles as Chair of the CGPCS. Ambassador Barry Faure, Secretary of State and Chairman of the Contact Group, symbolically passed the baton to the IOC Presidency, represented by its Secretary General, at a handover ceremony held at Port Louis, Mauritius, 1 December.
The Indian Ocean Commission will begin its mandate for a two-year term, 1 January, 2018.
Ambassador Faure presented the results of the Seychellois presidency of the CGPCS. Satisfied with the work accomplished during his tenure, he said: “We have been able to set up more appropriate mechanisms to combat piracy, and the IOC’s take-over of the CGPCS is a natural continuation as this regional organization has always has been involved in the fight against piracy and other threats and risks at sea through its Seychelles-based anti-piracy unit, the MASE program and also by co-presiding since 2014, the CGPCS working group focused on the development of regional capacity”.
Mr. Faure added that “despite the advances made in the measures put in place to fight against piracy, recent events remind us of how important it is to remain vigilant and to continue the collective efforts to ensure safety on the heavily used maritime routes. eastern and southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.”
“Somali piracy is a reality and we, the small island states of the Indian Ocean, are the most vulnerable. The Republic of Seychelles was the first country in the Indian Ocean to assume the presidency since the establishment of the Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia. We wanted, during these two years of mandate, to lead by example and be proactive in coordinating exchanges and developing strategies to find innovative methods to effectively address this problem that goes beyond our region. We have worked extensively with the Indian Ocean Commission as part of the CGPCS and I am confident in its ability to meet expectations and most importantly to keep up the pace. The Republic of Seychelles has finished its mandate but will remain active in the collective fight against piracy,” said Faure. Read the entire speech here.
For IOC Secretary General Hamada Madi, who represented Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, head of Mauritian diplomacy and President of the IOC Council, this new responsibility “will enable IOC to continue and expand the work of Seychelles in Chair of the CGPCS. We count on the effective involvement of all members of the Contact Group because we are bound by common interests. Securing the maritime routes of the Indian Ocean is a challenge that goes beyond the region. It’s especially a challenge that we can meet collectively,” he said during his speech during the award ceremony.
In addition, the European Union, IOC’s first partner in promoting maritime safety in the Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean (ESA-IO) region, has confirmed its support for the Indian Ocean Commission for this new mandate.
“The Maritime Safety Program (MASE) demonstrates our support and commitment to address issues related to maritime insecurity. The establishment of the two centers will help to better coordinate the exchange of information and act effectively “, stressed the Ambassador of the European Union, Mrs. Marjaana Sall.