What's In Blue

Posted Sun 26 Feb 2012

Debate on Gulf of Guinea Piracy

On Monday morning (27 February), the Council is scheduled to hold a debate on the threats to peace and security in the Gulf of Guinea region posed by piracy and other forms of armed robbery. (It originally seemed as if the issue would be discussed as part of the open debate on 21 February on Peace and Security in Africa, which focused on the impact of transnational organised crime in West Africa and the wider Sahel region. However, it appears that a decision was made to hold a separate debate on this issue later in the month.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to address the Council, as are representatives from members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). (The Council last considered the issue on 19 October and on 31 October 2011, and unanimously passed resolution 2018 condemning acts of piracy and armed robbery in the region.)

A draft resolution was discussed at the expert level on Friday and negotiations on the text continued into the weekend. The resolution looked likely to welcome the report and recommendations of the Secretary-General’s assessment mission on the issue, which was dispatched from 7 to 24 November 2011. (Among the report’s findings was that piracy has resulted in an estimated current annual loss of revenue of $2 billion to the West African economies and that the number of ships docking at Cotonou, Benin, has declined by 70 percent as a result of the attacks.)

It seemed that one of the issues covered during the negotiations on the draft resolution was the planning of a joint Summit of Gulf of Guinea States with the AU and the UN. The summit is expected to develop a regional anti-piracy strategy in cooperation with the AU. It appears that the role of the Secretary-General in organising the summit, including lending assistance through the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), was also discussed.

It seems the draft resolution being negotiated also called on international partners to provide support for regional states and organisations to enhance their capabilities to counter piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. It also urged states in the region to take prompt action to implement national maritime security strategies, and encouraged regional cooperation, including a code of conduct in the fight against international piracy in the Gulf.

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