On 23 September 2020, Dr Monica Juma, the Cabinet Secretary for Defence of the Republic of Kenya, chaired a virtual meeting of the Friends of the international Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).
The CGPCS was created more than 10 years ago, in order to help coordinate the global effort to fight and reduce piracy in the waters of the Western Indian Ocean, which are vital to international trade flows between Asia and Europe as well as between Asia and East Africa, including Kenya. Thanks in particular to the deployment of the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) “Atalanta”, the phenomenon of piracy off the coast of Somalia has been suppressed, with no successful incident having occurred during the past 12 months.
During the meeting of the Friends of the CGPCS, the Chair hailed the achievements made during recent years, but at the same time cautioned against a possible resurgence of piracy. There is also a clear need to pay attention to other forms of maritime crime which have emerged (e.g. the illicit trafficking in weapons and narcotics). It was noted that the solution to piracy lies on land, and efforts to prosecute criminal networks that are behind piracy and other maritime crimes should be intensified in order to bring kingpins to justice.
The meeting on 23 September was organised with the support of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), which acts as Secretariat to the CGPCS. The IOC is based in Mauritius and receives financial support from the European Union (EU) under the Programme to Promote Regional Maritime Security (MASE).
Simon Mordue, the EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation in Kenya, congratulated Dr Monica Juma, the Cabinet Secretary for Defence of the Republic of Kenya, on Kenya’s chairmanship of the CGPCS. Ambassador Mordue said, “Kenya’s chairmanship of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia since 1 January 2020 is testimony of her commitment and regional leadership when it comes to leading efforts to fight piracy and other forms of maritime crime in the Western Indian Ocean. The EU is fully behind Kenya in this respect and wishes Kenya all the very best for the remainder of its chairmanship of the CGPCS.” Ambassador Mordue also noted that the EU would continue supporting the region, through the deployment of EUNAVFOR Atalanta and the implementation of other flagship programmes, such as MASE, which aim to strengthen capacities in the area of maritime domain awareness.
More information about the MASE programme is available at: https://www.commissionoceanindien.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Press_release_MASE_12_April_17.pdf
The activities of EUNAVFOR Atalanta can be followed at: https://eunavfor.eu/