On May 28th we had the pleasure to co-host a strategy meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in Copenhagen. Held in association with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danish Shipping and the Indian Ocean Commission the main objective of the meeting was to discuss the future strategy of the group. The discussion was based on a report that I have written together with Jessica Larsen from the Danish Institute of International Studies.
The report evaluates the options for the CGPCS on the basis of four analyses: 1) An analysis of the records of the CGPCS and its past reform discussion, 2) consultations with core participants in the CGPCS, 3) an analysis of the maritime security environment in the Western Indian Ocean, and 4) a mapping of maritime security coordination instruments of relevance for the region.
The report firstly documents the important functions that the CGPCS has played in coordinating the response to piracy off the coast of Somalia. Secondly, it shows that part of the strength was to continuously adopt and revise the working methods. The discussion of the reform processes of the group (section 2.2) also gives a better understanding of which proposals have not been consensual in the past. Section 3 details that piracy remains a major issue in the region, but that several other maritime security issues deserve attention and are priorities. It shows that there is indication that piracy is linked to other maritime-related crimes, thus requiring that the response to piracy should not be discussed in isolation of other maritime crimes. Section 4 reviews the current institutional mechanisms in the region that provide overall governance instruments, address operational coordination, capacity building coordination and maritime domain awareness. The review comes to the conclusion that the institutional environment is increasingly fragmented, there is a high risk of duplication and overlap and that more efforts are required to achieve synergies between initiatives and instruments. On the basis of the analysis in the four sections, the report emphasizes the need for short term revised working methods as well as for a long-term strategy to address fragmentation and achieve synergies.