Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has deployed a team to assess the scope of the piracy threat in the Gulf of Guinea and make recommendations for possible United Nations support in tackling this scourge.
The assessment mission is being sent to the region in response to a request from President Boni Yayi of Benin, according to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.
It is co-led by Sammy Kum Buo, Director of the Africa II Division in the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), and Mariam Sissoko, Country Representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Nigeria.
The mission will visit Cotonou, Benin, from 7 to 16 November; Abuja, Nigeria, from 17 to 19 November; Libreville, Gabon, from 20 to 21 November; and Luanda, Angola, from 22 to 24 November.
It will meet with representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, as well as Government officials and relevant national counterparts in each country.
Last month Mr. Ban urged States and regional organizations in the Gulf of Guinea to develop a comprehensive and integrated strategy to combat maritime piracy, which he said was threatening to hinder economic development and undermine security in the region.
The Security Council too encouraged the development of such a strategy, which will entail the drafting of domestic laws and regulations – where they do not exist – that will criminalize piracy and armed robbery at sea and develop a regional framework to counter piracy and armed robbery, including information-sharing and operational coordination mechanisms in the region.
In a resolution adopted last month, the Council also welcomed the intention by States in the region to convene a summit to consider a comprehensive response to the piracy threat.
The Council will be briefed on the findings and recommendations of the assessment mission once it is completed.
The mission is comprised of representatives from DPA, UNODC, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Regional Office in Central Africa (UNOCA) and the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA).