Statement of the Federal Republic of Germany Security Council Debate, “Peace and Security in Africa: Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea” 22 November 2022

22.11.2022 - Speech

Statement delivered by Ambassador Antje Leendertse

I would like to thank the Presidency of Ghana for the opportunity to speak in the Council today.

Ghana and Norway have been instrumental in advancing the crucial issue of Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea in this Council. At the end of May, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2634.

From today’s briefers we have heard the progress since then. In this context, I would like to thank Assistant Secretary General Martha Pobee, UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly and Commander Yakubu from the African Union Commission for their insightful remarks.

Today, I have the honour to speak as one of the two current co-chairs - together with Côte d’Ivoire - of the “G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea”, a multilateral coalition of countries of the region and international partners. Together they support the Yaoundé Architecture and the implementation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct. Many member states present today are part of this coalition, which has been supporting ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission since 2013 in their endeavour to strengthen regional cooperation to combat piracy and other illegal activities at sea.

The “Friends of the Gulf of Guinea” are happy to respond to the Council’s call for action on maritime security. During the last plenary meeting in Berlin in July, we agreed to contribute to the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2634. During the next meeting in Abidjan next week we will deepen that dialogue.

A recent and important milestone of our joint efforts is the support to the Multinational Maritime Coordination Center in Cabo Verde, the latest element to the network of sub-regional coordination and information sharing centers.

Germany is more than happy to continue our co-chairmanship of the group in 2023, as we would like to support the current momentum, deepen sustainability and foster the aforementioned positive results.

In view of the upcoming 10-year anniversary of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and Architecture next year, the “Friends of the Gulf of Guinea” will focus their efforts on codification, making the Code of Conduct legally binding. Thanks to the strong ownership of the countries and organizations of the region, we are very confident that additional progress will be achieved by next summer in the fields of regional governance, operational cooperation and the harmonization of legal frameworks for maritime operations and the prosecution of piracy.

The “G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea” will support this process by providing technical assistance, training and access to financing in close and structured collaboration with other international and regional formats, such as the European Union Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP), Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) and the Atlantic Center.

I will now make a few more short remarks in my national capacity:

Germany realizes the relevance of combating piracy and strengthening maritime security to ensure the continued stability of the region. We will remain engaged, multilaterally and bilaterally, to support the countries of the Gulf of Guinea.

In addition to supporting a robust and sustained regional response to the immediate risks and dangers posed by piracy and other illegal activities at sea, we also need to invest more efforts and funds in their prevention as well as the mitigation of their effects.

The root causes leading to piracy can, for example, be addressed through investments in the blue economy, creating livelihoods and economic opportunities in local coastal communities. Mitigation can be achieved by environmental protection and conservation.

In this context, I would like to welcome the written advice of the Peacebuilding Commission to the Council on Maritime Security, which provides very specific recommendations about where to focus our joint preventive and peacebuilding efforts.

It is important to note that concrete progress in combating piracy and strengthening maritime security is particularly important in view of the wider threats to the security and stability of the region caused by terrorist groups.

Germany is committed to playing its part, in close cooperation with all its partners.

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