The Lessons Learned Project (LLP) of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) is an initiative that supports the Chairperson of the group. The consortium records the work and captures the experience of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. The goal is to extrapolate core lessons and feed these into policy processes. The Lessons Learned Consortium follows up on the 2013 decision of the CGPCS Plenary to compile and secure the institutional memory of the CGPCS with a specific focus on lessons learned.

From 2013 to 2015 the LLP has produced a range of lessons learned publications for different target audiences and purposes. Three core dimensions are addressed by the LLP:

  • Lessons for Global Governance: The CGPCS is understood as a case study of innovative global governance which might provide lessons for how other intricate global challenges can be handled. The 2013 study on “Burden Sharing Multi-level Governance: A Study of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia” serves as a base document for this part of the study.
  • Lessons for Maritime Security: While the work of the CGPCS has provided major lessons for how piracy could be addressed by a multi-stakeholder, ad hoc group, there are also other maritime security challenges that can be addressed cooperatively and effectively by such a group.
  • Lessons for the future shape of the CGPCS: Given that many of the objectives of the CGPCS have been achieved, core lessons are required for how the group might continue its work (or hand over to more permanent structures).

As these different objectives highlight, the LLP studies address different audiences which include counter-piracy practitioners from the Western Indian Ocean region and the International Community, but also a broader audience of global actors and observers, including academics.


The LLP engages in methodologically rigorous, evidence-based academic and policy work which intends to capture the plurality of different experiences of the CGPCS. At the heart of the LLP’s methodology is this website that offers an organized, transparent and easily accessible repository, which consists of different sources capturing the experiences of people and institutions associated with the CGPCS, including interviews with participants, personal reflections, and a range of lessons learned papers by organizations active in counter-piracy. These sources provide the main empirical data for the LLP and are accessible to other research institutions and the public at large as appropriate.

Collaboration: The Lessons Learned Consortium

The Lessons Learned Project is carried by the work of three consortium partners.

Cardiff logoThe Counter-Piracy Governance Project at Cardiff University and the website piracy-studies.org, has been leading the project. It organizes the repository to ensure that it is open, accessible as well as structured and becomes a useful resources for practitioners and academics alike. The repository provides a space for the different products of the LLP consortium. Since 2015 the repository also hosts the archive of the CGPCS. The Cardiff research team, led by Dr. Christian Bueger also has been conducting a critical interpretative analysis of the CGPCS. The focus of this research was in particular on studying a) in how far the Contact Group is a successful experiment in pragmatic, deliberative governance, b) which practices and principles can be translated to address other problematic situations on a global or regional level, and c) whether the experience of the Contact Group provides lessons for UN reform.

iss_logoThe European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) worked through out 2014 in close cooperation with the European External Action Service (EEAS), to edit a publication that provides a review of the CGPCS work. The resulting EUISS Report ‘Fighting Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. A Lessons Learnt Compendium’, edited by Thierry Tardy, was published in October 2014. It is a major resources and contains reflections from a range of actors instrumental in the estbalishment and running of the group.

OBP logoOceans Beyond Piracy conducted an initial scoping study for the LLP. The paper titled Burden-sharing Multi-level Governance: A Study of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia provided an initial reconstruction of the emergence of the CGPCS and an analysis in the light of global governance theory. Since the publication of the report OBP has actively supported the LLC in its work.