What's In Blue

Posted Mon 9 Nov 2015

Somalia: Piracy Resolution

Tomorrow (10 November), the Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing for one year Somalia counter-piracy measures initially authorised by the Council in 2008 and most recently renewed via resolution 2184 in November last year. A text was first circulated by the penholder, the US, last Wednesday (4 November) and negotiations were held on Thursday and Friday. The text cleared a silence procedure earlier today and has been put into blue. The draft resolution evidently draws upon the 12 October Secretary-General’s report on piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia (S/2015/776). However, for reasons that remain unclear, this year’s report of the Secretary-General on piracy in Somalia has not been discussed in the Council.

During negotiation of the draft resolution, a preambular paragraph proposed by the penholder regarding links between illegal fishing and piracy was the subject of considerable debate, despite somewhat similar language on illegal fishing having been included in the preamble of resolution 2244 on Somalia and Eritrea sanctions adopted two weeks earlier. The compromise reached for the piracy draft resolution revises the language from the initial draft, which encouraged the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to ensure that fishing licences are issued in a responsible manner and according to the appropriate Somali legal framework, to a version that recognises the on-going efforts of the FGS toward the development of a legal regime for the distribution of fishing licences and encourages further efforts in this regard. The paragraph in the initial draft was also broken into two paragraphs, with the first expressing concern over illegal fishing in Somalia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and the second recognising the efforts of the FGS to regulate fishing.

Another issue during negotiations concerned an operative paragraph proposed by the penholder calling for enhanced coordination between the New Deal Compact (also known as the Somali Compact), which is based on the principles of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, and the UN Trust Fund to Support the Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. This paragraph was consistent with the Secretary-General’s observation in his 12 October report, stating: “While the United Nations Trust Fund and its partners have been addressing some root causes, including livelihoods for at-risk youth, more needs to be done on a systematic and larger scale, in coordination with the New Deal Compact.” However, any references to the New Deal Compact in the text were opposed by China, which has not endorsed the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. After further negotiation, this operative paragraph was removed from the draft resolution.

There was also discussion among Council members regarding references in the draft resolution to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). One elected member that is not a state party to UNCLOS expressed reservations regarding references to the convention in preambular and operative paragraphs, but the references seem to have been retained. Regarding UNTOC, the initial draft circulated by the penholder “calls” for Somalia authorities to accede to UNTOC in order to target money laundering and piracy financing. Following discussion among Council members, the text was softened to “encourages”. This operative paragraph is consistent with the Secretary-General’s observation in his 12 October report that in order for Somalia to effectively target pirate financing and support networks, it is important for the FGS to implement international standards, including by becoming a state party to UNTOC.

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