Contact Group on piracy off the coast of Somalia Friends of the Chair meeting
Progress of the work for the formulation of a strategic plan, which aims to map out the future of the Contact Group on piracy off the coast of Somalia (CGPCS) for adoption by its Plenary session was one of the key agenda of the CGPCS Friends of the Chair meeting, held on Thursday 16 December 2021 in Mauritius. The adoption of the CGPCS Strategic plan will eventually be brought to the United Nations Security Council meeting for consideration.
The meeting which brought together over 70 participants from over 30 States and regional and international organisations in person and online was preceded by the 7th Strategic Planning Steering Group meeting on Wednesday 15 December 2021.
Organised by the Republic of Kenya (current Chair of the CGPCS) with the support of the Indian Ocean Commission as the CGPCS secretariat, the meeting also provided an update of the piracy and related crimes situation in the region and discussed the designation of the 2022-2024 CGPCS Chair and the orientation of the 24th CGPCS Plenary.
Despite the CGPCS activities being curbed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the key stakeholders showed unwavering engagement in sustaining momentum to address piracy and related crimes while reviewing the CGPCS mandate.
The meeting welcomed the recent adoption of the Resolution 2608 (2021) by the UN Security Council on 3rd December 2021 – authorizing States and regional organizations cooperating with Somalia to use all necessary means to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia of the East African country for an additional 3 months. This took cognizance of the common consensus within the international arena that “piracy is largely suppressed but not eradicated”. The UNSC Resolution 2608 reaffirmed the need for the international platform to review their focus for further adaptation with current challenges.
The last CGPCS Plenary Session held in December 2020, established the Strategic Planning Steering Group (SPSG) and adopted its Terms of Reference to review the raison d’être of the CGPCS and map out future priorities. The meeting took note that the SPSG met seven times since February 2021and has made significant progress. The SPSG, chaired by the Republic of Seychelles, aimed at developing the new CGPCS roadmap to overcome maritime security challenges beyond piracy.
The Republic of Kenya in its closing remarks welcomed the substantive contribution of all members during the meeting and further reiterated its commitment as CGPCS Chair and member of the UN Security Council to advance the work of the CGPCS into the UNSC. Honorable Peter Odoyo, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Defense of the Republic of Kenya representing the Chair stressed on the fact that “there is now an urgent need to quickly draft an outline Strategic plan for the future role of the Contact Group. This has become more important now for two reasons, firstly due to the Security Council reassessing the Piracy Resolution and secondly the impact that maritime security issues are having in our region now”.
There was large consensus at the meeting that CGPCS mandate expansion towards other maritime crimes should be done through reinforced cooperation and coordination with existing regional mechanisms and alignment of Somali and regional priorities. As pointed out by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of the Republic of Mauritius, cooperation with regional States and organizations was key. “Maritime crimes and threats continue to preoccupy States in the Western Indian Ocean. It can only be addressed effectively through collective actions as has been demonstrated by the international community in addressing the issue of piracy. Concrete partnerships between EUNAVFOR and the RMIFC and RCOC as well as that of the United Kingdom and same regional centres are commended to improve maritime domain awareness and joint operations at sea” said Honorable Alan Ganoo during his speech.
The Minister also announced that Mauritius was keen to maintain the international mobilization on piracy and maritime security and organise the 3rd Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security in 2022.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.