United Nations (UN)

EU-UN together ensuring security at sea to improve lives on land

26/10/2018 - 13:00
News stories

Thanks to the support of EU Operation Atalanta, FAO is training local women in Somalia on processing of captured fish which the men traditionally bring in on the boats in the morning. FAO-trained instructors (Trainers of Trainers) demonstrated how to scale, gut and fillet huge, freshly caught fish, and then how to dry fish in the sun on again FAO-designed but locally built fiberglass drying racks, harnessing the sun’s direct solar drying power – perfect for the Somali context.

Enhancing maritime security around the Western Indian Ocean is an essential aspect in maintaining stability and prosperity within the region. With ongoing security provided by EU Naval Force – EU NAVFOR: Operation Atalanta, key development partners including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) can continue their valuable work.

Following a focused operation around the Puntland towns of Hurdiyo and Eyl; EU NAVFOR supported the implementation of a UNFAO project aimed to enhance the capacities of fishing communities in Puntland, Galmudug and Mogadishu.  The Coastal Communities Against Piracy (CCAP) project aims to provide training and support to artisanal fishermen along the coast of Somalia.

Somalia, while having access to one of Africa’s longest coastlines, has an enormous untapped potential in Fisheries. On this particular mission, EUNAVFOR’s support enabled FAO to deliver FAO-designed but Somali-built fishing boats to the Federal government that are safer and more fuel efficient, for one. Secondly, they optimize catches by allowing fishers to venture at greater distances along the coast while keeping fish fresh with optimized storage space for ice below. Traditional Somali fishing boats haven’t seen any major change in design for thirty years.



The mission also enables FAO to adapt its designs based on feedback from the communities, and taking into consideration what is seen on the ground. “Access overland to remote fishing communities in Puntland is extremely limited. The face-to-face meetings with the local mayors, the fishing associations and the villagers is invaluable: we’ve learned more about these communities in a few hours than would have ever been possible” said Michael Savins, head of FAO’s Fish Consumption and Fleet Renewal Unit.

This cooperation brings jobs, income and opportunities to communities that have been economically marginalized for many years.

The work falls under the Coastal Communities Against Piracy project, one main component of the Maritime Security in the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region (MASE) programme, funded by the European Union.

Whilst piracy has been suppressed around the Horn of Africa over the last ten years of Operation Atalanta, the threat remains, as seen after the recent attack on Hong Kong-flagged KSL Sydney. Maritime security is vital and the use of Best Management Practices (BMP5) is crucial to prevent and avert any future piracy related events.

Acting in the root causes of the problem, and in line with the UNSC Resolution 2015 and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the EU deployed in 2008 the EU Naval Force – EU NAVFOR: Operation Atalanta as a major comprehensive CSDP mission, entailing both capacity building and training initiatives on land as counterpiracy actions at sea.

This is in line with the EU-UN Partnership on Crisis Management, as the new global challenges such as maritime security demand reinforced coordination and close cooperation. 11 out of the 16 Missions that the EU has ongoing around the world are in parallel with the UN, and a stronger commitment is now in place towards more sustainable and effective solutions.

The EU and the UN will continue this work and the development of partnerships and coordination concepts will be an enduring effort. Whilst significant progress has been made; EU NAVFOR and EU Partners such as EU Capacity Building Mission in Somalia, (EUCAP Somalia) and EU Training Mission, (EUTM) will also continue to provide bespoke training and facilitate training programmes to enhance the capabilities of local people, as well as protecting ships of the World Food Programme, providing vital food aid to the most vulnerable people in the region.