Written Statement of the Federal Republic of Germany for the VTC Open Debate of the UN Security Council on “Enhancing Maritime Security: A case for international cooperation”, August 9, 2021

09.08.2021 - Speech

Germany welcomes the Indian initiative to hold an Open Debate of the UN Security Council on “Maritime Security”.

The international rules-based order determines our co-existence everywhere – on land, in space, in the cyber world and at sea.

Unfortunately, this order has been exposed to tangible pressure. We need to defend and preserve it more than ever.

The integrity of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which sets out the legal framework that governs all activities in the oceans and seas, needs in particular to be maintained.

With our contribution to the Group of Friends of UNCLOS, we underline the importance of UNCLOS as “a constitution for the seas”.

Germany calls on all states to reaffirm their commitment to the freedoms of the High Sea, in particular the freedom of navigation and overflight, and to the right of innocent passage enshrined in UNCLOS.

Moreover, Germany remains firmly committed to the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in accordance with UNCLOS, including through the compulsory procedures provided therein. Advisory opinions by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea can also contribute to strengthening the law of the sea.

Among the current challenges to maritime order and international security, piracy, armed robbery at sea and other illicit and illegal activities at sea remain a source of great concern. Maritime threats such as piracy do not only endanger ships and their crews, but they also challenge the freedoms of the seas. Therefore, Germany is taking an active stance to combat piracy.

As of 1 August 2021 Germany has joined and is now a proud member of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

As further essential tools to preserve the international rules-based order, Germany supports EU maritime missions and operations, which aim to prevent trade in illegal goods, to monitor UN sanctions and to protect World Food Programme deliveries.

The Indo-Pacific is, in this context, crucial: that is why the German frigate “Bayern” has set sail on 2 August 2021 with the task to assist in upholding international law and strengthening security in the Indo-Pacific alongside our partners. The frigate “Bayern” will join the maritime monitoring of UN sanctions against the DPRK, perform joint exercises with partners in the Indo-Pacific and cross the South China Sea.

This mission is part of greater maritime cooperation and the expansion of Germany’s involvement in the region, including through the EU’s Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.

We favor an increased involvement of EU Member States in the Indo-Pacific, where the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) concept created as a framework for strengthening maritime security in a designated maritime area could usefully be applied.

Climate change and environmental degradation also require an urgent collective response. They are not only existential threats to humanity, biodiversity and healthy oceans, but they also have increasing implications for global peace and international stability, including maritime security. The High Seas must be considered as a global public good which provides climate stabilization, food, jobs and other crucial benefits for humanity and the global eco-system.

More than ever, it is necessary to conclude an ambitious international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. This remains a political priority for us.

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