18 April 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for a comprehensive response to maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia, saying the menace is a consequence of the overall insecurity, lack of a stable national government and underdevelopment in the Horn of Africa country.
“Piracy is not a water-borne disease. It is a symptom of conditions on the ground, including the overall security and political situation in Somalia,” Mr. Ban said in a message to a conference on piracy in Dubai, whose theme is “Global Threat, Regional Responses: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy.”
“Therefore, our response must be holistic and comprehensive, encompassing simultaneous action on three fronts: deterrence, security and the rule of law, and development. We must work with the Somalia authorities, and we must weave our counter-piracy efforts into an overall solution for Somalia,” said Mr. Ban in the message, which was delivered on his behalf by Patricia O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.
The Secretary-General said the work of the international Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is vital in facilitating discussion and coordination among States, organizations, the Somalia Transitional Federal Government, the country’s regional administrations and the various navies carrying out military action.
The Contact Group was established in 2009, under a Security Council resolution, to facilitate discussion and coordinate actions among States and regional organizations to suppress piracy.
Mr. Ban pointed out that his former Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, Jack Lang, had outlined how Somalia and the international community can legally step up counter-piracy efforts. One of the measures recommended by Mr. Lang is the consolidation of international assistance for increasing prison capacity.
“Some of his recommendations are already being implemented, albeit on a modest scale, with the assistance of UNODC [UN Office on Drugs and Crime] and UNDP [UN Development Programme.],” said the Secretary-General.
He also informed the conference that the Security Council had last week decided to urgently consider the establishment of specialized Somali courts to try suspected pirates both in the Somalia and in the region, one of Mr. Lang’s recommendations.
He said that the trust fund for counter-piracy administered by the UN had also proved to be an efficient instrument. During its first year, the fund approved 12 projects worth $4.3 million, and total contributions reached $6.2 million.
“This is an encouraging start, but much more needs to be done. I urge you to attend the fundraising event being convened tomorrow by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations, and to generously support the fund’s important work,” he said.
He deplored the violence and hostage-taking associated with piracy, saying it had taken a heavy human toll, especially for seafarers. Piracy is also distorting the Somali economy and disrupting shipping lanes that are vital to people around the world, he added.
“And the pirates’ reach is expanding. Piracy seems to be outpacing the efforts of the international community to stem it,” said Mr. Ban. “I therefore reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to work with the international community and the Somali authorities to implement a comprehensive strategy for a sustainable solution to this global menace.”