A press release summarises the results of the 21st CGPCS plenary from the perspective of the chairman. As the chairman Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo declares in the statement: “we cannot fight effectively nor permanently remove piracy, if we do not tackle all the crimes and threats that feed on piracy or are fuelled by piracy. That is why I suggested that we start thinking about the possible extension of the mandate of the Contact Group and that the outcomes be submitted to the next plenary session for debate.” Read the full press release.
The secretariat of the CGPCS has released the communique of the 21st plenary held in Nairobi. The communique provides a summary of the discussion in preparation of and during the plenary. As major items, the CGPCS endorsed the new version of Best Management Practices developed by the industry, adopted a communication strategy and initiated a reform process for the group. Read the full communique.
A day prior to the 21st plenary a range of preparatory meetings were held in the UN Offices in Nairobi. The UN Trust Fund board met to discuss the current funding situation and approve new projects. The Working Group Operations at Sea held a meeting under the chairmanship of India, Seychelles and UAE supported by Sri Lanka as the Secretariat. The meeting discussed the situation at sea as well as matters within the mandate brought to the attention of the chair. This included the relation of piracy to other maritime security issues, the regulatory framework for floating armouries, current developments in maritime situational awareness and information sharing, and the fifth version of the best management practices. Also a meeting on the CGPCS communication strategy was held.
The 21st plenary of the CGPCS will be held on the 12th and 13th of July in the UN facilities in Nairobi, Kenya. The plenary is preceded by meetings of the Working Group on Operations at Sea (WGOPS) , the Trust Fund Board as well as a particular meeting on the communications of the group. Major agenda items of the plenary include a discussion of the threat at sea as well as the institutional form of the CGPCS in the coming years.
On the 30th of April a CGPCS strategy meeting will be held in Mauritius. Following an introductory panel, there will be a discussion on the programs of the working groups as well as a panel on the future work plan of the overall CGPCS.
The meeting is held in the margins of a major ministerial conference organized by the Indian Ocean Commission. The “Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security and Safety” aims to give new impetus to concrete collaborations for the long-term security of the vast maritime areas of the ESA-OI region in full compliance with the Conventions and Strategies in force. Further information on the meeting is available here.
The Regional Capacity Building Coordination Working Group, also known as RCBWG is one of the two working groups of the CGPCS. It is mandated to coordinate the capacity building work of the international community in the Western Indian Ocean region and to ensure that overlap and duplication are avoided, and resources are invested efficiently.
The group, which is chaired by the Government of Kenya and the Indian Ocean Commission and supported by Oceans Beyond Piracy as Secretariat, meets 2-3 times per year, with one meeting usually held back to back with the plenary.
Coordinating capacity building is an intricate task, not only because of the sheer number of donors, providers, and implementers involved, but also because it is often unclear what capacity building work should include, how it should be done, and with which priorities.
The RCBWG held its first meeting of 2018 on the 1st of March in Nairobi. The meeting is held back to back with the Safeseas Symposium on Maritime Security Capacity Building. The symposium focusses on the strategic dimension of how to improve capacity building on the basis of a best practice toolkit launched at the event.
The RCBWG meeting focussed in particular on an exchange of the priorities and gaps that regional countries identify, and on the question of how the three major regional programmes (the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC), the Indian Ocean Regional Information Sharing System (IORIS) and the EU funded project MASE) can be better harmonised.
The final newsletter of the 2017 CGPCS chairmanship, the Government of Seychelles, is available. The newsletter provides messages from the incoming and outgoing chairmen, an overview of the activities of the chair in the past months, as well as updates from core stakeholders. It is available here as well as in the archive.
The Republic of Mauritius, as Chair of the Indian Ocean Commission, is honoured to take over the chairmanship of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). In our globalised world, the Eastern and Southern African and Indian Ocean States as well as States outside our region have been directly or indirectly impacted by the scourge of piracy.
Thus, following the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851 of 18 December 2008, a concerted approach was adopted to contain this problem. It has been instrumental in curbing the acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Together with the international community, we have reacted promptly with a view to safeguarding our coastal economies from inevitable crashes. However, we cannot boast to have addressed effectively future risks. The attack in the 2nd quarter of 2017, just after the publicly-announced end of NATO’s Operation OCEAN SHIELD, is a sufficient demonstration of a possible resurgence of piracy. While notable progress has been made to support the Federal Government of Somalia as well as the Federal States, there are miles ahead to eradicate the root causes of piracy.
Mauritius has remained an unflinching supporter in the fight against piracy. Recently 12 Somali pirates have been imprisoned and tried in Mauritius. We have under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), and through the EU funded MASE (MAritime SEcurity) programme established a Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre in Madagascar and a Regional Centre for Operational Coordination (RCOC) in Seychelles. I am sure that these two centres would as per the Djibouti Code of Conduct consolidate further the regional information sharing network.
As Chair of the IOC, I am also convening a Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security in the first quarter of 2018. The focus of the Ministerial Conference will address all maritime security challenges, such as drugs, firearms and human trafficking, terrorism and extremism, safety and rescue at sea, natural disasters and, obviously, piracy. I do believe that this event would be an opportunity to all CGPCS Stakeholders to chart out a costed new orientation for the CGPCS.
I commend Ambassador Barry Faure, Secretary of State of the Republic of Seychelles, for having over the last two years geared successfully the CGPCS. His legacy to render the Indian Ocean region a safer region and to achieve our objective of zero seafarers and ships detained by pirates will no doubt be continued.
For the coming two years at the chairmanship of the CGPCS, I am inspired by the motto “United we stand divided we fall” attributed to Aesop in his fable “The Four Oxen and the Lion”. This demonstrates the necessity to collectively address the issue of piracy. Individual action is bound to fail. As I said at the CGPCS meeting in Balaclava earlier this year: “Piracy, like other crimes, threats and marine risks, knows no borders, that is, why cooperation is essential to ensure maritime safety and peaceful development of the entire region”. We shall spare no effort to lobby for a permanent status for the CGPCS and to extend and deepen its mandate and powers for a sustainable growth of our economies.
In doing so, we will be in line with the 2030 UN Agenda that calls for strong partnerships to pave the way for an authentic sustainable development. As Chair of the IOC I shall also ensure that the CGPCS participate fully in the implementation of the AU Integrated Maritime Strategy of 2050.
I look forward to meeting you in New York for the 21st plenary session of the CGPCS so that we continue to strive to bring stability in the region for the benefit of all.
H.E S. Lutchmeenaraidoo
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of the Republic of Mauritius
Chairman of the CGPCS 2018-2019