Seychelles elected co-chair of key UN body on maritime security
Seychelles has been elected co-chair of Working Group 3 on maritime Operations and Coordination following the country’s successful nomination during the plenary session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). The United Arab Emirates and Japan also join Seychelles as co-chairs of the working group.
The 16th Plenary meeting of Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and its Trust Fund Board Meeting was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York between the 12thto 15th of May 2014, under the Chairmanship of the European Union.
The unanimous election to co-chair Working Group 3 demonstrates the faith that the international community has placed in Seychelles’ ability to secure the Indian Ocean and the vital role it has played in ensuring the end of impunity for Somalia based piracy.
During the CGPCS plenary stakeholders officially endorsed a series of measures to streamline and refine the CGPCS structures and working groups with a view to making the CGPCS more cost- efficient and to increase regional participation and representation through a system of co-chairing arrangements for its Working Groups.
The working groups have now been reorganized as follows:
Working Group 1 has been renamed “Capacity Building Group” and will concentrate on capacity building;
Working Group 2 will now be called “Legal Forum of the CGPCS”, preserving the legal network as a virtual legal forum for legal experts;
Working Group 3 has been renamed, “Maritime Counter- Piracy and Mitigation Operations” and will, amongst others, bring together industry, navies and seafarers organizations;
And finally Working Group 5 will now be called, “Disrupting Pirates Network Ashore” and will continue to focus on financial flows tracking and arresting piracy kingpins.
As part of its mandate within working group 3, Seychelles will be tasked with developing best management practices to protect vessels from piracy in the region. Seychelles will be instrumental in establishing mechanisms for vetting procedures for maritime companies recruiting private armed contractors to escort vessels in high-risk waters.
“This announcement confirms the great work that has been done by the Seychelles and all her partners to date. We have been able to demonstrate a cohesive and focused approach in tackling the menace that piracy brought to the western Indian Ocean. States in the region and beyond were threatened by pirates, Seychelles will remember suffered, as her citizens were taken hostage. We as a country and a government did not shirk from our responsibilities, we stepped up and made our case and faced head on the pirate menace. The work we did together have culminated to where we are at today, and that is a confirmation by the International Community that Seychelles can contribute positively to the region’s Maritime security and we have shown ourselves worthy.” Said the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan.
During the Trust Fund Board Meeting a grant of 600,000 US dollars was approved for Seychelles to fund a project aimed at developing Seychelles’ maritime law enforcement capacity through the development of a Maritime Domain Awareness capability, analytical and investigative capacity, and the establishment of a Police Marine Investigation Unit.
It is important to note that the element of information sharing and gathering in maritime security is well established in Seychelles. The country hosts the REFLECS 3 program designed to create a mandate for a more comprehensive approach for combating transitional crime currently impacting the Indian Ocean and eastern African.
“This is an important occasion for Seychelles and is recognition of the hard work we have done in the field of maritime security and ending impunity for Somalia based pirates. Co-chairing working group three demonstrates the confidence that the international community has placed in Seychelles and more importantly in her capacity to influence the global security landscape regardless of her relative size. It is not only a great honour to co chair the working group but also an opportunity to make our voices heard and to shape the maritime security agenda for benefit of our people.” Said Foreign Minister, Jean Paul Adam.
- The Seychelles delegation comprised Ambassador Dick Esparon, based in the UAE, Ambassador Marie-Louise Potter, Seychelles Permanent Representative to the UN, Lt Col Michael Rosette, Deputy Chief of Staff- SPDF and Mr Selby Pillay, Principal Counselor at the Seychelles Mission in New York and Mr. Joseph Bibi, Deputy Director of the REFLECS 3.
- Joint Press release Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport and Ministry of Foreign Affairs