REMARKS BY JAMES HUGHES, DEPUTY HEAD (GLOBAL ISSUES), SECURITY POLICY DEPARTMENT, FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE, HM GOVERNMENT
CHAIR, WORKING GROUP 1 OF THE CONTACT GROUP ON PIRACY OFF THE COAST OF SOMALIA (CGPCS)
IMO HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE ON COUNTER-PIRACY CAPACITY-BUILDING
LONDON, 15 MAY 2012
Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to speak today. Today’s is an important discussion, bringing together key partners to discuss a subject of great importance: how best do we work together in a coordinated, comprehensive approach, to build the capacity of the Somali people and the Horn of Africa region to counter, and ultimately eradicate, piracy. And this is a first from the IMO, a key player in the counter-piracy arena.
Colleagues driving the course of today have highlighted the many concerning implications of piracy: humanitarian, economic, social and political. We are all concerned that more needs to be done. How we do it is a subject that has occupied many of our minds for some time, in particular the partners in the room engaged in the key work of the CGPCS. I have the honour to be the chair of the Working Group tasked with coordination of operational activities and capacity building in the region.
To this end, the UK welcomes any further efforts to further coordinate the work of the international community, so long as those efforts are of course coordinated. For if the respective efforts to coordinate activity are themselves uncoordinated, it could hinder rather than help our collective efforts.
We agree that counter-piracy capacity-building activity needs to be coordinated and comprehensive. Coordinated - because everyone agrees a lot of good work is being done and that this work should not duplicate but rather complement. It is not just in counter-piracy activity where effective international coordination poses a challenge of course, as we have heard earlier today.
And comprehensive - to ensure that counter-piracy capacity-building is not conducted in isolation. Piracy, along with a number of other issues with which we are engaged, is a symptom of the wider underlying issues facing Somalia and its people. It is therefore right that a comprehensive approach be pursued, with a focus on ensuring sustainable solutions on land. It is clear that, while not taking our eyes off the ball at sea, the only sustainable solutions to piracy can be found on land - a conclusion that was explicit in the communiqué of the London Conference on Somalia.
The London Conference, as colleagues will be aware, brought together more than 50 States and international organisations, to discuss actions required to address the underlying concern of instability as well as the symptoms in a holistic way, and secured the international community’s agreement on the way forward. On injecting new momentum into the practical process; on security and justice, including the strengthening of AMISOM following the UNSCR on 22 February endorsing uplift to and the development of Somali security forces; on building stability at the local level; on making progress on joint financial management, and on redoubling the international community’s commitment to tackling the symptoms, addressing the humanitarian situation; terrorism and of course piracy.
You will be unsurprised to hear that a UK official believes that the London Conference achieved significant positive progress, but I am pleased that many partners I have spoken to today share this view. It is of course now vital that the international community maintains and builds on the momentum developed by the London Conference to deliver the real change that we agree is required. In particular, to ensure that the process to end the transition in August is on track and is suitably inclusive; ensuring support for developing security and justice; and to build capacity in Somalia and in the region to tackle the symptoms as already set out.
Since London, we have made progress in a number of areas, such as providing support to UNPOS, or in making progress with the political process. We are working hard with partners to set up the Local Stability Fund. And we continue to provide much needed support to address immediate humanitarian needs, providing an additional £57m in support to Somalia alone.
We look forward to the Istanbul Conference at the end of this month, which will take stock of progress made and look ahead, ensuring positive momentum is maintained. And on counter-piracy specifically, we look forward to the conference to be held by the UAE in Dubai at the end of June, and the Perth Conference in mid-July.
So what are we, the UK, doing on counter-piracy capacity-building? We have deliberately adopted a collegiate response. Much of the UK’s support for capacity-building has necessarily been through the prism of the important work of international organisations, many of which have already spoken here today.
We are undertaking ground-breaking project work, in many cases literally, on prison and judicial capacity in Somalia and the wider region in conjunction with the effective Counter Piracy Programme (CPP) of the UN office on Drugs and Crime.
The UNODC, as you have heard, is undertaking a series of activities to deliver results on the ground, and the UK is proud to be the largest national donor to the CPP with contributions totalling approximately £9m in 2011 alone. We are working closely with the CPP and other international partners to develop judicial capacity, including court and prison capacity.
We are similarly working with partners to develop the regional model of prisoner transfers from partners such as Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, and Mauritius, whereby pirates convicted in these States are transferred to serve their sentences in Somalia. This is in line with the wider, long-term need to develop judicial capacity in Somalia, and follows the commitment shown by Somali authorities to build up such capacity and to accept such transfers. The UK was pleased at being able to work with the UN and other partners to ensure a first such transfer of convicted pirates from Seychelles to Somaliland in March.
At the front end of the process, this work is being complemented by the bilateral agreements that the UK is putting in place with our partners in the region, most recently with the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Government of Tanzania on the day of the London Conference on Somalia.
The third track of our bilateral cooperation with UNODC is in the development of its advocacy programme as highlighted earlier, building support for wider messaging efforts to underline in coastal communities that piracy is not the answer, that it will not go unpunished, that there are alternatives to piracy, and put simply, one third of pirates don’t make it home.
We were also pleased to provide £1.5m earlier this year to the UN Development Programme to finance the first start-up phase of their important initiative to develop community engagement projects in Puntland in particular, to provide alternative livelihoods to piracy. This is part of the UK’s wider international developmental support for Somalia, totalling tens of millions of Pounds.
We of course continue to be a firm supporter of the IMO, in its regional capacity-building endeavours with the Djibouti Code of Conduct and its wider activities to enhance regional maritime capacity. We welcome the developments between the IMO and the EEAS on coordinating their respective capacity-building activities – as demonstrated by adjustments being made to their respective work-plans during the last meeting of the CGPCS Working Group 1 under my chairmanship in March.
As a Member State of the EU, we remain committed to the valuable role that will be played by the proposed regional maritime capacity-building mission, about which we have heard more earlier today; both in helping to shape the proposal and in providing expertise. This support is part, of course, of our wider, leading role in EU counter-piracy activity, not least in Operation ATALANTA where we are pleased and proud to provide the Operational Commander and base at Northwood. Similarly, we remain committed to paying a substantive role in Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO counter-piracy operation, and in the CMF.
Col. Stuart Roberts has already referred to the financial support that the UK has put into the development of a pilot counter-piracy focal-point office to be set up by UNPOS, as part of the need to coordinate activity on the ground and to help encourage delivery of the Kampala Process Action Plan.
We also agree that we should increase the focus of the international community in undermining those behind the piracy business model. This involves going after the ‘kingpins’ – the coordinators, the financiers and the negotiators of pirate activity, as well as the young men in boats. Working closely with Interpol, UNODC, the World Bank, industry and of course partners through the CGPCS Working Group 5, we are supporting enhanced efforts to track the financial flows of piracy with a view to stopping both the money and those profiting from the money.
We are working with partners to encourage the development of regional infrastructure and capacity to do this in the longer term, such as with anti-money laundering legislation. And in the shorter term, we are working with partners to pool together the intelligence that we have on those at the top, with a view to going after them and bringing them to justice. A key tool in this armoury will be the RAPPICC in the Seychelles, building together expertise from a number of key partners to track financial flows, put together evidence and seek prosecutions. A number of partners have already pledged their support to this centre, and I hope that many more follow as we pursue our shared agenda to take out the kingpins of piracy.
Last, but by no means least, we have continued to enhance our bilateral support with key partners more directly in a range of other initiatives. Whether direct support to build coastguard capability in Somalia itself or in regional partners, or providing prosecutors in regional countries alongside other commonwealth expertise, or providing prison mentors and staff in Somalia and in the wider region, the UK continues to lend its support and expertise to our partners in order for them to develop their own, sustainable capacity to tackling piracy head-on.
Mr. Chairman, the UK continues to pursue a multi-faceted approach, targeted at all parts of the piracy business model. Because we need to attack all parts of the business model to have lasting success. And, Mr. Chairman, doing this in partnership is key to our response to piracy.
It is my, and our, firm belief that partnerships will ensure continued progress and coordination in the international community’s approach – whether between military and industry, between governments and international organisations, or between public and private and the NGO community. The UK remains committed to working with all of our partners to tackle piracy as part of the holistic comprehensive approach to Somalia, and to supporting our partners to deliver in a coordinated way.