Statement by SRSG Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah to the United Nations Security Council
New York, 18 November 2009
Members have before them the Secretary-General's report pursuant to Security Council resolution 1846 (2008). Let me highlight the key observations.
First of all piracy is a highly profitable business – we therefore have to address it as a criminal activity with many tentacles in many places in the region and around the world
The deployment of naval ships and military aircraft to suppress piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia as well as better self-protection of ships transiting the area have considerably reduced the number of successful incidents in region, especially in the Gulf of Aden. This expanding maritime presence is playing a critical role in stabilizing the situation at sea and there is no doubt that the number of successful attacks would increase again if these military assets were reduced. The naval escorts protecting WFP shipments are providing crucial protection for the delivering humanitarian aid to Somalia.
At the same time, the number of pirate attacks has not diminished – the threat remains and in some ways is becoming more entrenched as more sophisticated methods are being adopted and attacks are taking place further out at sea. At further financial cost to them; a risk they still see as worthwhile.
Therefore the approach to combating piracy cannot be limited to the containment of the problem by international naval forces alone no matter how successful. It must be part of an overall plan which includes building regional capacity on the one hand, and dealing with its root causes on the other.
In addition to various bilateral initiatives being undertaken by Member States, regional capacity-building is being undertaken through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized UN agency steering the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct aims to establish a cooperation framework between regional states combating piracy, both at the operational and the legal levels. This covers interdicting ships suspected of piracy, information-sharing between regional states, and prosecution of suspected pirates. Piracy's root causes are being addressed by UNPOS and the my colleagues in the UN System whose joint action focuses on establishing sustainable peace, effective governance, creating capable rule of law and security institutions, and offering the Somali people lawful alternatives to piracy and banditry. I would like to address these issues in more detail:
The report highlights the role played by the IMO in promulgating guidance for Governments, seafarers and the global maritime industry in suppressing piracy and armed robbery against ships; and developing and implementing a regional strategy for the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. This is the essence of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, which has been signed by ten States from the region. IMO, and its Member States, have long recognized that piracy is a symptom of the lack of effective government and the rule of law ashore. With this aspect in mind, IMO has been working actively in partnership with UNODC and other UN bodies, Interpol, and navies to develop regional States' capacities to enforce the law at sea and, in particular, countering piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia
On the prosecution of suspected pirates, caught by the international naval forces operation off the coast of Somalia, UNODC has been providing assistance to regional states. Although all agencies agree that the ideal solution to the trial of pirates is a fair and effective court system in Somalia, that goal is out of reach for the time being. UNODC and OLA at Headquarters are leading on the best alternative: ensuring trial within a sound legal framework in other regional states. Through the delivery of support directly to the police, prosecutors, courts and prisons of Kenya and Seychelles, UNODC is creating the conditions in which the arresting states are content to pass suspects over for trial and improving overall criminal justice standards. The programme is expanding to other regional states by conducting legal assessments and delivering assistance and, in partnership with UNDP, will develop the prisons (and later the prosecutors and police investigators) in some entities and authorities in Somalia such as Somaliland and Puntland to create the conditions in which pirates convicted outside Somalia can be returned home to serve their prison sentences.
CONCLUDING STATEMENT BY MR. OULD-ABDALLAH MADE FOLLOWING MEMBER STATES' INTERVENTIONS
Thank you all for your support to me and my colleagues.