Starting from 2014 a range of analytic papers have been produced to reflect in-depth on the work of the CGPCS and what lessons can be drawn for other areas of regional and global governance. The following papers are available:

The CGPCS in 2018. A comment on strategic priorities for the incoming chairmanship

With the 20th plenary the CGPCS has successfully consolidated its work and reconfirmed its position as the institution where global responses to piracy in the Western Indian Ocean are coordinated. The CGPCS continues to fill a major gap in the global maritime security architecture and provides a function that no other institution can. The piracy incidents occurring in 2017 have demonstrated why the CGPCS is still required and reconfirm why it must continue its vital work. The revival of the Working Group on Operations at Sea tasked to evaluate the threats and risks to shipping was an important reaction to the current spike in piracy. It will be a priority for the incoming chairmanship to ensure that the working group meets as soon as possible and that it receives full support from those conducting threat and risk analyses, whether naval operations, the industry, non-governmental organisations such as Oceans Beyond Piracy, or academia. One of the main functions of the CGPCS has been to ensure that information is shared between actors engaged in counter-piracy. Efficient communication between all actors is vital for coordination. But it is also important that the international community sends a strong and unified message to potential perpetrators. These are the two challenges that the future communication strategy of the CGPCS will need to address. They imply revising the website, newsletter and other internal communication tools, and identifying a mechanism to harmonise and coordinate the communication practices of actors like EUNAVFOR, FAO, UNODC and others. A strong message can be an important tool to deter Somalis from engaging in piracy. Over the past four years the CGPCS has also become an important site where the relations between piracy and other maritime security issues are debated. While the mandate that the CGPCS has given itself remains focussed on piracy, … Continue reading

Strategic Review of Trust Fund published

The Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia operating since 2010 under the auspices of the UN has been one of the major vehicles to fund counter-piracy projects. The trust fund was created to help defray the expenses associated with prosecution of suspected pirates, as well as other activities related to implementing the Contact Group’s objectives regarding combating piracy in all its aspects. In 2016 the trust fund commissioned a strategic review, the results of which are now publicly available. The review provides an in-depth investigation of the causes of and responses to Somali-based piracy and a detailed discussion of the added value of the trust fund. The review authored by Peter Bauman and Sarah Hanssen of Bauman Global LLC is available here.

2016 CGPCS Strategy Meeting. A summary

On the 1st of February the CGPCS held a strategy meeting to take stock and plan its future activities. The one day event hosted by the Government of India and organized by the current chairmen, the Government of the Seychelles, took place at the Taj Lands End Hotel in Mumbai. The meeting was structured in four sessions (see the final meeting agenda here). Over 60 representatives of the CGPCS stakeholder community participated. The first session was comprised of welcome remarks, session two reviewed the contemporary situation, session three took stock of the activities of the Working Groups, while the final session was concerned with the strategic questions for 2016. The meeting was opened by a welcome speech of the host, the government of India. Mr.Deepak Shetty, Director General of the Indian Directorate General of Shipping welcomed the participants. He highlighted the great achievements of the CGPCS and the important contributions of all stakeholders. Yet, as he stressed in the speech, the risk of piracy remains and a number of regulatory challenges, such as floating armouries, still require responses. Mr. Joël Morgan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport, Government of the Seychelles, the acting Chairman of CGPCS, welcomed the participants, laid out the agenda for the day as well as the core objectives of the Seychelles chairmanship. Mr. Morgan emphasized the challenges that the international community still faces We recognize that even while we are making headway on the high seas as acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia further degrades, that the work of the international community will never truly be completed while the threats of instability brought about by terrorist elements on land still exists, and while the territorial waters of Somalia and the resources which it brings are not respected. Our work continues as well to ensure that all mariners … Continue reading

The High Risk Area debate – What was at stake?

Since 2012 the CGPCS agenda was increasingly occupied by the question whether the High Risk Area (HRA) of the Best Management Practices (BMP) should be revised. Why did the high risk area become so controversial? What’s at stake in the debate? What can be learned from this debate? A new lessons learned paper sets out to address these issues. The paper offers a detailed reconstruction of the making of the BMP and the high risk area (HRA). The BMP were developed in a political and legal greyzone, the HRA became linked to various other areas, such as the Lloyds listed areas. The BMP and the HRA were increasingly legalized, through endorsements, but also references in national regulations and legislation. Once piracy declined and unmaking the HRA became the core question this ambiguous status became problematic. The HRA debate in consequence concerned space (where is a high risk? can sovereign territorial waters be included?), authority (who is to evaluate if their is a risk or not?) and expertise (how can one decide whether the risk is high or low?). These larger political questions came to the fore, once piracy attacks declined. The debate points us to the limits of the informal, experimental and pragmatic approach of counter-piracy. Many larger political questions were only bracketed. Yet, the CGPCS also succeed in finding a solution to the debate, as it was announced in October. Ten core lessons can be distilled from the HRA controversy. These pertain in particular to the question of how to design the prospective BMP5 as well as set up other risk zones in the future. They are, however, also lessons that point to the limits of purely pragmatic international policymaking processes. The HRA was introduced as a quick fix. The intent was to focus attention, give guidance to the shipping industry … Continue reading

Transnational Governance, Somali Piracy and the Contact Group: An analytical primer

Dr. Christian Bueger, Cardiff University. In 2013 the Contact Group decided to start a process of reflecting on the nature of the group, which lessons can be learned from its work and whether these lessons might be translated to other situations that require coordination of multiple actors. This paper develops an analytical primer for the LLP, that is, it sets out a framework for further investigations of the Contact Group. I draw on an initial interpretation of the Contact Group’s documents as well as observation of its working practice and reflect these results in the light on international relations theory. In this (preliminary) interpretation, I review the institutional structure of the group, contrast it with other similar groups, argue for understanding it as a ‘community of inquiry’ and outline the core functions and effects of the group as an institution. The interpretative framework I develop is eclectic in the sense that it combines insights from different approaches to international relations, including the studies of transnational communities and networks, international organization research, or normative theories of global governance. Read the full paper here.

Dimensions of Legitimacy: Evaluating the Contact Group

Prof. William Smith, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. This analytical paper explores the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia from the perspective of its claims to legitimacy. Legitimacy is associated with those properties of an organization that render it an authoritative source of rules, decisions, or recommendations. The paper explores the following three questions: (1) Is the concept of legitimacy relevant to the Contact Group? (2) Which properties should we look at to measure its legitimacy? (3) Are any reforms necessary to enhance its claims to legitimacy? The paper concludes that the Contact Group has significant achievements as a governance body, but identifies several shortcomings that should be addressed to enhance its legitimacy claims. Read the full paper here: Dimensions of Legitimacy: Evaluating the Contact Group

Global governance and transnational crime: Situating the CGPCS

Dr. Anja P. Jakobi, Royal Holloway, University of London. This paper analyses the contact group against the background of other international initiatives against crime. I first elaborate on a typology of international coordination, ranging from international regimes to networks and ‘orchestrators’. The contact group represents a recently emerging type of organisation, closely linked to ideas of governance by expertise and including public-private interaction. I compare the group to other international efforts targeted at global crime, for example corruption, money laundering, human trafficking and drug trafficking. As the comparison shows, in particular the local focus of the contact group has helped bringing together a variety of actors and multiple levels to deliver solutions to a global problems. The model of the contact group, I argue, would be less successful in cases where the criminal activity is more wide-spread and more conflicting interests and veto-players would need to be moderated. Thus, the contact group has its main strength in implementation and delegation, less so in finding compromise across hugely disparate political camps. Please find the full paper here.

Making Law or Shaping Law? The role of law, lawyers and CGPCS Working Group 2 in the fight against piracy

Dr. Douglas Guilfoyle, University College London & Associate Prof. Birgit Feldtmann, University of Southern Denmark. One of the central issues in connection with approaching the problem of piracy in the region of the Horn of Africa has been the question of the legal frame work for counter-piracy. Here the core question was what kind of “counter-piracy tools” the frame work in international law (and subsequently in relevant domestic legislations) is providing and whether the frame work for counter-piracy is sufficient to meet the problem of piracy in the 21th century? Working Group 2 on legal issues has been a central player in dealing with the legal questions at stake at the international level. The paper is dealing with the question of how WG2 functioned as a legal community and of what can be described as the legal effect of WG2. The paper draws together two different approaches: • first, it attempts to place working group to within the context of a wider literature about international governance and law making processes and the role of lawyers in those processes; and • second, it introduces a qualitative dimension based on interviews with a number of participants in WG2. The paper will also draw particular attention to the role of international and national law in efforts to combat Somali piracy. Fundamentally, it approaches WG2 as a form of transgovernmental cooperation or governance: a relatively horizontal meeting of technical experts drawn from government, industry and academia drawn together to share (and create) knowledge and best practices. WG2 also served as a platform to promote more direct forms of bilateral co-operation (such as the ‘criminal justice chain’ involved in the prosecution and repatriation of Somali pirates) and had an influence on the course of policy debate (most particularly over the choice between international and regional … Continue reading

Maritime Capacity Building and the CBCG. Lessons from Security Sector Reform

Prof. Timothy Edmunds, University of Bristol. Security sector reform (SSR) has become an important component of international peacebuilding, stabilisation and democratisation efforts since 2000. However, and until recently, its impact on the maritime sector has been limited. This paper explores the lessons learned from past or ‘mainstream’ SSR initiatives, and considers their relevance for maritime capacity building and the Capacity Building Coordination Group (CBCG) of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). It argues that the maritime sector presents some novel challenges to the SSR project, including the transnational nature of the maritime security environment, its jurisdictional and organisational complexity, and the often fragmented nature of the political communities in which it is conducted. Even so, it argues that important lessons can be learned from SSR experiences elsewhere. These include the importance and meaning of local ownership, the inherently political nature of the reform process itself, the dangers of externally-driven and overly technocratic responses, and the consequent need to work with rather than against local governance structures and practices. Ultimately, it argues for an adaptive, politically sensitive and ultimately problem-driven approach to Maritime SSR, and warns against the adoption of formulaic models of ‘best practice’, imposed from outside. Read the full paper here: Maritime Security Sector Reform

Counter-Piracy and Maritime Capacity Building: Fallacies of a Debate

Dr. Christian Bueger, Cardiff University. Capacity Building has proven to be a terrain which is very difficult to coordinate in the way the CGPCS has done in other areas, such as prosecution or operational coordination. This papers inquires what is so tricky about capacity building and how the efforts of the CGPCS can be improved. In this paper I firstly raise awareness for the different nature of capacity building compared to other counter-piracy activities. Secondly, I point to three fallacies of the current debate and point towards solutions. These solutions can be condensed from the lessons of the areas in which the CGPCS has been successful, notably military coordination and the harmonization of legal standards. I discuss three fallacies, first, misunderstandings with regards to what expertise capacity building requires, secondly, misperceptions of the hindrances of coordination, thirdly, a lack of attention to the problems that the principle of ownership creates. I propose the development of a Best Practice Toolkit, a real time coordination system and trust and confidence building measures as potential solutions. The paper can be read here. 

Small States in the CGPCS: Denmark, Working Group 2, and the End of the Debate on an International Piracy Court

Ulrik Trolle Smed, University of Copenhagen. Denmark, a small state with an active foreign policy, hastily entered the arena of counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden in 2008 due to its major maritime interests. Not pre-pared to prosecute suspected pirates in Dan-ish courts, Denmark realized that it needed a multilateral framework to cope with the issue of an increasing ‘impunity problem’. The establishment of the CGPCS therefore came as a welcome initiative for Danish policymakers, and Denmark took up the responsibility of chairing its legal working group. Chairing working group two, the Danish government sought to weave together the existing mechanisms of national court systems with multinational naval forces in the region. Unable to ‘go-it-alone’, Denmark, a small state with limited resources, an active foreign policy and a major stake in the maritime industry, had been provided with a position to facilitate a multinational framework for solving its own problems, while simultaneously benefit-ting the international community. The paper outlines three core lessons: First, the comparative advantage of the international community is not necessarily to be the implementing party, but rather its ability to convey legitimacy to implementing partners; Second, the challenge of problem-solving does not always lie in establishing new mechanisms but in weaving together existing mechanisms, complimented by new ideas, in order to provide a new solution for a new problem; Third, in a globalized world, small states can act as effective leaders and facilitators on security issues on behalf of, and to the benefit of, the international community, given that they have the right resources, motivation and international support. Read the full paper here.

France’s Action Against Maritime Piracy and the CGPCS: Interests, Interaction and Priorities

Dr. Cédric Leboeuf, Université de Nantes. France is an active participant in the Contact Group and in its working groups. Since 2009, France attempts to draw attention to the situation in Somalia, notably by arguing that the destabilization of Somalia directly threatened European and international security. As EU member, France calls for responsibility and respect for international legal norms. Within the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy, France play a key role in promoting notably the coordination between civilian and military actors of the maritime surveillance. This paper will address issues about the contribution of France within the different CGPCS working groups: attendance, discussions or even necessary impetus protecting various international, european and national interests. The role of France has to be appreciated regarding the EU presidency of the Contact Group. The interaction between the work of the CGPCS and the Trust fund to support the initiatives of States countering piracy off the coast of Somalia must be considered as well. Read the full paper here.

Opportunities and challenges of an independent deployer in informal organizational structures: Japan’s Contribution to the CGPCS

Prof. Willhelm Vosse, International Christian University Tokyo. Japan has participated in the counter-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia and the CGPCS from the very beginning in 2009. Although, Japan has since then been among the most active countries in the fight against piracy, flying the highest number of reconnaissance missions and spending the longest time on sea, escorting ships along the IRTC transit corridor, this engagement and Japan’s experience might not always be fully reflected in the proceedings of the Contact Group. Japan has so far only chaired one, the fourth, plenary session in September 2009, and, in the third session, initiated the IMO Djibouti Code Trust Fund, which funds the information sharing center in Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen, as well as a regional Coast Guard training center in Djibouti. Japan helped shaping the latter based on its experience in setting up the Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Center in Singapore. This paper will analyze Japan’s contribution to the CGPCS, the Trust Fund and regional capacity building, how domestic constitutional and legal constraints limited its activities, and possible issues with the informal corridor negotiation styles or information sharing techniques at the CGPCS plenary and working group sessions. Read the full paper here.

Perspectives from the Invisible Workforce: Lessons Learned for the Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Adrienne Mannov, University of Copenhagen and Seahealth Denmark. The shipping industry is often referred to as the Invisible Industry. Although 90% of all goods are transported by sea, many consumers are not aware of the industry’s significance in our lives. Even more compelling, most are not aware of the people who move these goods. Thus, the Invisible Workforce may be a more accurate title. In this article, I discuss these invisible workers and their perceptions of maritime piracy and how their perceptions may be useful to the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). More specifically, I discuss how seafarers conceptualize the threat, including geographical focus and the role that their governments, labor unions and employers play in protecting them. These perspectives are based on 16 months of ethnographic research on board with crews who pass through piracy areas and among seafarers, their families and the maritime organizations around them on land in Denmark, the Ukraine, India and the Philippines. In addition, I include perspectives gathered from The Seamen’s Church Institute of NY & NJ and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program, organizations both affiliated with the CGPCS. Both of these organizations emerged as significant actors in the field, and their work, where relevant, will be addressed in this article as well. The project is a collaboration between Seahealth Denmark and the Department of Anthropology at Copenhagen University. Seahealth Denmark and the Danish government funded the project. Despite this Danish point of departure, the majority of the individuals and organizations that contributed their perspectives to the research are not Danish and do not have any particular stake in the Danish shipping industry. As such, this article offers a broad perspective from seafarers on their perception of piracy threats and how these might be helpful to the CGPCS’s continued work. … Continue reading

“Here There Be Pirates”: Legitimacy in Pirate Areas and Lessons Learned

Prof. Stig Jarle Hansen, University of the Life Sciences, Oslo. In 2008 the author observed serious strains between the then president Adde Musa of Puntland and the international community, many suspected the former to have been in lead with the pirates, while the Puntland administration accused the international society from pressuring them to avoid attacking captured ships because of the likelihoods of deaths  of hostages. Trust was definitively an issue. This paper asks has this issue been overcome, questioning how the local entities in the pirate areas have  participated, mapping various opinions on the work of the group in the local communities, taking into consideration that there are considerable political cleavages in both Puntland and Galmudug, that might create differences in opinion as well. The paper also asks local decision makers what was useful or not in the contact group. Read the full paper here.

Kenya’s role in Counter-Piracy and the Contact Group

Paul Musili Wambua, University of Nairobi School of Law. Kenya is at the forefront of the fight against Somali piracy. If in the first years Kenya had been very active and the core state to take over prosecutions and imprisonment, increasingly the government has become reluctant to engage in the Contact Group and take a leadership role on maritime security in the region. In this paper Prof. Wambua reflects on Kenya’s role in the fight against piracy and explores the reasons of why Kenya became a less prominent participant in the CGPCS. In his analysis he carefully shows the importance of internal, and indeed also, bureaucratic politics for understanding Kenya’s position. Written by one of the leading African maritime lawyers this paper is an important reference point for those interested in Kenya’s maritime security policy and its future role in the region. Read the full paper here.  

The following contributions have been published in the EU ISS commissioned report, Fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: genesis, rationale and objectives
Henk Swarttouw (NL) and Donna L. Hopkins (US)

The CGPCS: the evolution of multilateralism to multi-stakeholder collaboration
Jon Huggins and Jens Vestergaard Madsen, Oceans Beyond Piracy

Operational coordination of naval operations and capacity building 
Marcus Houben, European External Action Service

The legal aspects of counter-piracy
Jonas Bering Liisberg (DK)

Working with the private sector 
Huh Chul (RUK)

Raising Public Awareness 
David Meron (USA)

Fighting piracy along the money trail
Guiseppe Maresca (I)

The Contact Group and the UN: Two Complementary Forms of Multilateralism
Amit Singhal (UN)

A Somali Perspective on the Contact Group
Mohamed Gaas, University of the Life Science, Oslo

Experimental governance: can the lessons of the CGPCS be transferred to other policy fields?
Christian Bueger, Cardiff University