UAE. The 2nd UAE Counter Piracy Conference ended on June 28 with representatives of both the public and private sectors calling for support for Somalia to help it address both the immediate danger to shipping of marine hi-jacking and the economic conditions that allow piracy to take root.
In the conference Declaration, available on the conference website, www.counterpiracy.ae, the conference expressed its profound concern about the humanitarian cost of violence and hostage taking on seafarers and their families, and reiterated that piracy continues to pose a grave threat to the peace, security and prosperity of Somalia, the region and the world.
The conference delegates welcomed the significant progress made in combating maritime piracy on land and in the waters off the coast of Somalia in the year since the inaugural conference in the UAE in April 2011, and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening Public Private Partnership in the search for a sustainable solution to the violence.
The conference noted that there is now an increasing realisation of the need for a comprehensive approach by the international community to eradicate piracy and its root causes.
The Declaration was adopted by foreign ministers and senior government officials from 41 countries, as well as representatives from UN agencies, including the International Maritime Organisation, and top executives from 73 leading maritime companies and organisations.
Co-convened by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and global marine terminal operator DP World under the theme “A Regional Response to Maritime Piracy: Enhancing Public-Private Partnerships and Strengthening Global Engagement”, the two-day event was opened on June 27 by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Sayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, and His Excellency Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World.
The Declaration stated that through initiatives like the UAE Counter Piracy Conference the international community has made it clear that it will stand ready to provide effective, sensitive and reliable support to Somalia, as required.
The Declaration expressed backing for a UAE proposal to make the UN Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States to Counter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, affiliated to the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), a central manager for new funds donated towards the development of Somalia’s maritime security capacity.
Participants welcomed the UAE’s initial pledge of US$1million toward this new vehicle within the Trust Fund, to be developed in its upcoming November Board Meeting.
The Conference expressed support for the vision for Somalia after 2012 put forward by the country’s collective leadership toward the establishment of a permanent, legitimate, and fully representative government.
It welcomed initiatives to foster economic development in Somalia’s coastal communities, and welcomed the increasing financial contributions made by the global maritime industry towards counter piracy initiatives.
Looking forward, the Declaration outlined priorities, including new efforts to alleviate the suffering of captive seafarers and their families, and for regional maritime capacity development.
Industry leaders attending the conference also issued a statement underlining its deep concern about the impact of hostage taking and violence on seafarers and their families.
The Industry Statement also called for clear and consistent standards for private security guards on vessels, delineating the boundaries between public and private sector responsibility, and expressed concern about the growing economic cost to both governments and industry of maritime piracy.