An United Nations-backed group dedicated to fighting piracy off the Somali coast has stressed the need for the international community to provide adequate financial, human and materiel resources to successfully tackle this ongoing threat.
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia “expressed its grave concern that the provision of military forces for the anti-piracy operations is likely to fall short of the numbers required; and called upon States to remedy this situation.”
The call came during the group’s tenth plenary session held last week in New York, at which it also emphasised that adequate means must be provided to the international response to piracy. This includes sufficient military assets to ensure an effective military response; furthering efforts of law enforcement and judicial agencies to effectively investigate and prosecute all those engaged in and profiting from piracy; and stronger support from the international community for the development of prosecution and detention capacity in Somalia and in the region.
The group also noted that a solution to piracy can only be found by combining such activities with the wider efforts aimed at stabilising Somalia, which include promoting good governance and rule of law, strengthening government institutions and fostering socio-economic development.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine P Mahiga, told the meeting that despite the “exceptional” international cooperation on combating piracy, he was deeply concerned at how the threat continues to evolve, with the increase in land-based kidnappings in Kenya and Somalia, and the huge financial flows involved in ransom payments. “We need to get ahead of the threat by deepening our understanding of how the threat is evolving and adjust our responses accordingly,” he said via video-link from Nairobi.
Combating piracy relies on a “robust and effective three-pronged, land-based strategy,” he added, beginning with countering not only the act of piracy at sea but also targeting and neutralising those assets and infrastructure on land supporting piracy operations. It is also necessary to collectively seek ways of promoting social and economic recovery and to generate employment opportunities, as well as to invest in peace-building and future social and economic development. Thirdly, he said, it is vital to ensure support to the peace process through sustained political commitment to the roadmap agreed by the Somali stakeholders with support from the international community. “This is the underlying strategy for lasting peace and stability in Somalia,” he said.
The roadmap, which was agreed in September, spells out priority measures to be implemented before the current transitional governing arrangements end in August next year, including improving security, drafting a constitution, national reconciliation and good governance.
The Contact Group was established in 2009, under a Security Council resolution, to facilitate discussion and coordinate actions among States and regional organisations to suppress piracy.