Good morning Excellencies, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
Norway is pleased and proud to host this fifth plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. This is the one year anniversary of the Group. Much has been achieved and much remains to be done in our endeavour to stop the piracy. We are looking forward to a fruitful meeting today and to making some good progress.
Let me start with mentioning the SCR 1897 has given the CGPCS a renewed and stronger mandate. We welcome this.
I should also like to point out some of our accomplishments and comment in brief our remaining challenges:
Firstly, we are seeing the effects of the preventive measures taken by the industry. The successful hijacks are almost exclusively on ships not complying with the Best Management Practises adopted by this group. This is by far the most important measure against piracy. Still only 70-75 % of the ships passing through the Gulf of Aden follow the preventive measures. Our challenge is to achieve a much higher level of compliance with the Best Management Practises.
Secondly, there is a strong support for the well-coordinated counter-piracy military operations in the region and the results they have delivered. We appreciate the contributions by a great number of states and organisations. At this point we would like to welcome the increasing integration into the SHADE mechanism and IRTC patrol system by those engaged in these activities. We encourage all states deploying assets in the Gulf of Aden to join SHADE.
There is also strong support for capacity building in the region as a medium and long term solution. We welcome WG1s work on a needs assessment. The matrix maintained by the Chair of WG1 is a good vehicle for co-ordination between efforts by the ICG, IMO, CGPCS and others. It also links donors up to concrete projects. We hope to see more donors engaged in the matrix process. We thus encourage more potential donors to come forward with extensive contributions.
We would like to reiterate the call in UNSCR 1897 for increased support for the prosecution of pirates. We would also take this opportunity to tribute the countries in the region, and in particular Kenya, that has taken a lead in bringing pirates to justice, and commends the UNODC for its capacity building in the justice sector in the region. The Trust Fund is established to defray expenses related to the prosecution of pirates. We encourage all states to contribute to the Fund.
There is a need for more targeted strategic communications in Somalia but also with our own audiences at home. We have not been able to get the positive message across on what we have been able to achieve in the Gulf of Aden, in particular in reducing the number of successful attacks. Public perceptions are important. We know little about how the international engagement is perceived in Somalia. To succeed we must convince the Somali community at large that the international operations are serving their interest and curbing any notion that piracy is looked upon as a just cause. We therefore encourage this Contact Group to develop and implement targeted communication strategies.
Last but not least, we would reiterate the need to seeing piracy in its broader context, namely as a symptom of a failed state. There is no doubt that the root cause of piracy lays with the instability and weak government institutions in Somalia. Consequently in order to restore order at sea, we must restore order on land. Bringing peace and stability to Somalia, re-establishing effective government institutions are essential for a long term solution to piracy. Humanitarian development and security assistance is urgently needed and we encourage all states to also contribute in these important tasks.
Against this background, we would like to underline the need for close cooperation between the CGPCS and the ICG for Somalia. We appreciate that closer co-operation now has been established, as a follow up to Japan’s initiative as the previous Chairman of the CGPCS. I am thus very pleased to welcome Mr. Petrie to our meeting, representing the ICG.
On that note, I will give the floor to the distinguished representative from Somalia, for his opening remarks.
I will then give the floor to the distinguished representative of UNPOS Mr. Petrie for his opening remarks.