Piracy and armed robbery has long been a threat to regional security in the Gulf of Guinea, and has a real human cost – from disruption of trade, to the use of kidnap for ransom.
We welcome the focus of our African partners on tackling this very real problem. We would make three brief points. The first is that this international effort is having a positive impact. We are pleased to note that there has been a continued decline in incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
This is largely thanks to the strength of regional cooperation in tackling the issue. We are also proud of our own collaboration with partners to promote security and stability, following on from our G7 Presidency including the visit by HMS Trent last year to deter attacks on maritime trade.
The second is that, as we have heard, the Yaoundé Code of Conduct has provided a crucial framework that underpins this increased regional cooperation. We would urge signatory states and relevant regional bodies, all represented here today, to continue to enhance cooperation and collaboration.
Thirdly, it is of course vital that any efforts to tackle piracy and armed robbery comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which is the legal framework within which all activities in the ocean and seas are carried out.
In this context I should add that it is unfortunate that the Peacebuilding Commission was not able to reach consensus on its written advice for this session.
The final point is the most important. As set out in the concept note, the drivers of piracy remains complex and multi-faceted. We encourage a continued focus on the impact of poverty, youth unemployment and environmental degradation in contributing to criminal activity.
Engagement is needed at all levels, including community-based responses, and the UK will continue to work closely with partners in support of a coherent and integrated approach to tackling insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
Thank you, President.