DP World High-Level Counter-Piracy Conference
“A Regional Response to Maritime Piracy: Enhancing Public-Private Partnerships and Strengthening Global Engagement”
28 June 2012, Dubai
3-minute statement by Koji Sekimizu
Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization
Thank you Mr. Chairman,
Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to express sincere appreciation to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for organizing this conference and for inviting IMO to participate. It is of great concern that piracy continues to disrupt shipping and threaten global trade. Piracy affects trade, fishery, tourism and the economy of this region. But, perhaps most alarming of all, piracy puts the lives and livelihoods of seafarers at serious risk. As the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban, stated in his message delivered on the Day of the Seafarer, 25 June, we must recognize the outstanding courage of hundreds of thousands of seafarers who continue to work amidst formidable peril navigating in this piracy infested area.
In the early stages of the Somali piracy crisis, the emphasis of the response was, understandably, on protecting merchant vessels from pirate attacks. The mobilization and coordination of naval forces, the establishment of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor and the development of the Best Management Practices are all examples of this approach in action.
While not diminishing in any way the importance of such immediate, preventative measures and the need for their full implementation by all concerned, an ever-greater emphasis will now have to be placed on building capacity to tackle the problem within the affected regions themselves.
In this context, I appreciate the announcement of the Government of the United Arab Emirates to make a significant amount of funds available for capacity building. For capacity-building activities, through the IMO-led Djibouti Code of Conduct, established in 2009, the mechanisms do exist for finding new ways to equip countries with the tools and the expertise they need to do meaningful anti-piracy activates as well as to support Somalia to establish law and order, livelihoods and business for the future.
Furthermore, IMO’s commitment to capacity building in this region to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean has been underlined with the recent signing of five strategic partnerships with a number of UN agencies, including UNPOS, UNODC and FAO, and with the EU, following a Conference on Capacity Building to Counter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, held at IMO Headquarters, in London, on 15 May 2012.
The international community shares a collective duty and a collective responsibility to do whatever it can to combat piracy and to help people to live their lives under conditions of responsible governance and under the protection of an effective rule of law. None of us can achieve this alone; but each of us has a role to play.
I make it clear here today that IMO’s determination to make further efforts for capacity building for anti-piracy activities and, in particular, implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct with new initiatives to support Somalia and to protect shipping lanes in high risk areas in the southern Indian Ocean, including waters around the Mozambique Channel.
It must be recognized and understood that piracy and lawlessness at sea are manifestations of the widespread and deep-rooted problems ashore. They are symptoms; and, while a symptom can be treated and its effects can be alleviated, real progress can only be made by addressing the cause and IMO will stand ready to provide our support in this aspect and, in particular, the efforts of the international community to help Somalia.