GIS - 20 June, 2019: The 22nd Plenary session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), which is an international governance mechanism established in response to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1918 (2010), opened this morning at the InterContinental Hotel, in Balaclava. The Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence, Minister for Rodrigues Sir Anerood Jugnauth, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha were present.
Established in January 2009 in New York with the objective to facilitate the discussion and coordination of actions among states and organisations to suppress Somali piracy, the CGPCS meets in two formats, namely: an annual plenary session and working groups and as several related groups meetings, which focuses on specific themes related to piracy and maritime security issues at large.
While CGPCS Plenary session is held once per year, working groups and related groups organise several meetings per year where they provide the CGPCS Secretariat with useful information on the piracy situation off the coast of Somalia. To date, more than 60 countries and international organisations have become part of this forum to work towards the prevention of piracy off the Somali coast.
In his address at the opening ceremony, Minister Mentor said that the meeting provides the opportunity to evaluate the current situation with regards to piracy in the Indian Ocean; to draw up the work plan for the current year; and to reflect on the future of the Contact Group.
Maritime security in the Indian Ocean, he pointed out, is of utmost concern to Mauritius and the challenges of keeping the sea routes safe are multi-faceted which can only be addressed through a cooperation framework that involves international and regional actors. We have to acknowledge that ten years after the existence of the Contact Group, piracy has been drastically reduced, Sir Jugnauth added.
Minister Mentor reiterated his belief that the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), as the Secretariat for the CGPCS, must be strengthened so as to establish a mechanism that will better coordinate collective responses to maritime security and piracy as African Coastal States depend heavily on a secure maritime route for the bulk of their trade. Therefore, he stated that it is essential that African countries combine their efforts to put in place common policies for ocean governance and national structures to facilitate coordination between States.
For his part, Minister Bodha highlighted that this mechanism has allowed for coordinated actions by the various navies to combat and reduce piracy adding that the seas must continued to be guarded and secured.
He stated that this Plenary Session has been organised so as to collectively assess the work of the Contact Group; take stock of maritime threats; ensure that the legacy lasts; and address the issues related to the Contact Group as there are too many uncoordinated efforts.
Minister Bodha made an appeal to the partners present to support the CGPCS by being proactive instead of reactive to piracy acts, adding that mobilisation and coordination is of utmost importance in deterring maritime threats.
Signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between Mauritius and Norway
After the opening ceremony, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Establishment of a political Consultation Mechanism with Norway was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha and the State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway, Ms Marianne Hagen.
The MoU aims to provide a framework as well as a platform to start a dialogue between the two countries through regular meetings, with a view to addressing bilateral issues of pertinence, including projects for cooperation, as well as other issues of common regional and global strategic interests.
The Consultations can be adapted very quickly based on emerging partnership priorities and will be broad, encompassing and flexible while identifying areas of cooperation. The conduct of regular meetings, both formal and informal, will help in establishing a process whereby the status of the bilateral cooperation can be examined and reviewed in a dynamic way.
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