IMO’s initiatives take place within the wider context of United Nations Security Council resolutions 2018 (2011) and 2039 (2012); United Nations General Assembly resolutions including resolution 67/78 on Oceans and the law of the sea; the Zone of Peace and Cooperation in the South Atlantic; the maritime strategies of the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC).
In every initiative, IMO is working in close cooperation and coordination with other UN bodies, particularly UNODC, FAO, UNHCR and the regional offices of UNOCA and UNOWA, as well as other international partners such as Interpol and WCO, and development partners such as Japan, France, US Africa Command, China, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Norway and the G8++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea.
In general terms, the aim is for the IMO Member States in West and Central Africa to put in place national legislation to criminalize piracy, attacks against ships, and other illicit maritime activities; coordinate structures and procedures; and have in place well-trained operational, technical and logistical personnel to effectively discharge their responsibilities in all aspects of maritime safety, security and marine environmental protection, thereby also enhancing regional trade by sea.
Depending on the level of contributions received, the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund will sustain and escalate the intensity of IMO’s engagement to achieve these goals.
West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund
The 28th session of the IMO Assembly in December 2013 unanimously adopted resolution A.1069(28)
on Prevention and suppression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in the Gulf of Guinea.
The resolution, inter alia, appeals to States in the region, in close cooperation with international and regional organizations, to take all measures possible within the provisions of international law, to ensure that all acts or attempted acts of piracy, armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activities are terminated forthwith and any plans for committing such acts are also forthwith abandoned; and any hijacked ships, kidnapped seafarers held on them and any other persons on board such ships are immediately and unconditionally released and that no harm is caused to them.
The resolution also calls upon Governments to consider making financial contributions to the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund and in cooperation with the Organization and as may be requested by Governments of the region, to assist States in the Gulf of Guinea to develop their national and regional capabilities to improve maritime governance in waters under their jurisdiction; to prevent, within the provisions of international law, piracy, armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activities; and to assist States to build capacity to interdict and bring to justice those who commit crimes.
To date, the United Kingdom Government, the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Japan have contributed generously to the Trust Fund.