The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.

 

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Statements and Speeches

Statement by Dr. Wouter Zaayman, Counsellor, at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of South Africa to the UN, at the Security Council Open Debate on Peace Consolidation in West Africa: Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea in the Gulf of Guinea

25 April 2016

Mr President,

Thank you for organizing the open debate on Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea in the Gulf of Guinea in collaboration with Angola and Senegal, which my delegation views as an important and timely topic relevant to the development and security of Africa.  

Mr President,  

Piracy and armed robbery have a negative impact on the social, economic and humanitarian situations in affected states in the Gulf of Guinea.  It also affects hinterland and landlocked countries, which depends on the sea for exports and imports. Piracy is estimated to result in an annual loss of $2 billion to the economy of the West African subregion.

We commend the determination of the countries in the region including the planning of regional coordination centers to implement the Integrated Maritime Security Strategy adopted in 2013. We also commend the outcome of the Extraordinary High-Level meeting of ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, held in February 2016, to facilitate the early entry-into-operation of the Inter-regional Coordination Centre.

Mr President,

It is important that we take note of the adoption by African countries in 2014 of Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 (AMIS 2050).  This is a strategy that seeks to move Africa’s maritime security practices and initiatives from the sub-regional level - i.e the 2009 Djibouti Code of Conduct in East Africa, the 2013 Yaoundé Declaration in West Africa and the SADC Maritime Security Strategy - to the continental level. It is thus a strategy that recognizes AU Member States’ common maritime challenges and opportunities and addresses threats that negatively affect the socio- and economic development in African States in an integrated manner. It sees the challenges of maritime security linked to developmental challenges and calls for a broad approach to addressing these challenges. 

This is significant given the fact that thirty-eight African countries have a combined coastline of 26 000 nautical miles (47 000 km), that seaborne fishing contributes to food security for 200 million African and that more than 90% of Africa’s trade is seaborne, highlights the importance of addressing the threats that piracy and armed robbery at sea present to the Continent. 

Mr President,

My delegation wishes to recall the decision of the AU Assembly of January 2014 which stresses the need for strategic partnerships to support initiatives towards the implementation of Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy. 

This allows for the vital role of the international community to support national and regional mechanisms aimed dealing with maritime security challenges.  In strengthening a meaningful partnership between Africa and the international community, substantial assistance from the international community and intensified United Nations engagements are needed to build on the momentum of Africa’s efforts to deal in an integrated manner with the problem of piracy on the basis of national and regional ownership.  Recent experiences in the Gulf of Aden demonstrate the devastating economic and security consequences to the international community if the challenge of piracy, including its root causes are not addressed in a determined and collaborative manner.

In this regard, my delegation wishes to emphasise the importance of focusing on the root causes of piracy, including high levels of youth unemployment, poverty, and underdevelopment, and consequently, the need for strengthened developmental interventions.  This is in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which identifies the marine economy as a major contributor to growth and development in Africa.

Mr President,

South Africa strongly believes that it is timely for the Security Council to send a strong and unequivocal message to the end users of pirated goods. In this regard, it is also important to start exploring the nexus between the illicit pirate economy and formal global role-players, including in the area of hydrocarbons.

I thank you.