A roundtable on maritime security, held in the context of the Second Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security and the 22nd Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, took place on Monday 17 June 2019 at the University of Mauritius Ebène Campus.
The roundtable has as objectives to create awareness among the academia and university students on actions related to tackling maritime challenges and to open up opportunities for academia for research works. The Second Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security and the 22nd Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia will be hosted in Mauritius from 18 to 20 June 2019.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius, Ms Marjaana Sall and other eminent personalities were present.
In his address, Minister Bodha stated that maritime security has become a crucial domain for countries of Eastern Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean as it is linked to economic growth. On this score, he delved into the different types of maritime threats, namely drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and marine pollution which he said, impact both on the environment and the economy.
He underlined the need to preserve the ocean for safer economic activities by working together with countries of the region for a more coordinated approach. It is imperative to position Mauritius and Seychelles with a solid structure to fight maritime threats, he added.
As for Minister Dookhun, she emphasised that the primary aim of the roundtable is to foster a better understanding on maritime security as it is an issue of regional as well as international concern. She spoke on the importance of strengthening cooperation and collaboration so as to effectively fight maritime crimes and threats in coastal countries.
With regard to the Second Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security which will be held during this week, she highlighted that it will allow organisations and partners to come up with collective actions and ensure coordination for an efficient and sustainable maritime security.
For her part, Ambassador Sall spoke of EU’s active involvement in maritime security initiatives in line to securing maritime and terrestrial area. She pointed out that the EU has provided fund for the MASE programme to the tune of € 37.5 million to counter the regional maritime security issue, namely piracy.
Second Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security
The second ministerial conference has as aim to take stock of the different actions undertaken since April 2018 and evaluate the efficiency of actions as well as identify responses to ensure a long-lasting maritime security.
In April 2018, a major step in the regional MASE was reached with the signing of two regional agreements during the Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security in Mauritius. These agreements based on exchanging and sharing of maritime information and coordination of operations at sea were signed by five states namely Comores, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, joined by France and Kenya in November 2018.
Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is an international governance mechanism established by a UN Resolution in 2009 to facilitate the coordination of actions among States and organisations to suppress Somali piracy. To date, more than 60 countries and organisations are part of the forum, working towards the prevention of piracy off the Somali coast. The 22nd Plenary Session will focus on specific themes related to piracy and maritime security issues.