In a meeting at the end of 2022, it was reported that although the Gulf of Guinea has witnessed a steady decline in incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, more needs to be done to fully operationalize the maritime security architecture. This recommendation came from a senior United Nations official as told to the Security Council during that year end meeting. Other speakers called for renewed action to tackle the root causes of piracy.
Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, assistant secretary-general for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, presenting the secretary-general’s report (document S/2022/818) on the situation of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea, said such incidents have continued to decrease during the reporting period.
The steady decline resulted from concerted efforts by national authorities, with the support of regional and international partners; regular deployment of naval assets by international partners; and piracy convictions in Nigeria and Togo in 2021, among others. However, piracy in the Gulf has also morphed during the past decade, she observed, adding that the aforementioned decline might be attributable to a shift by criminal networks to other crimes, such as oil bunkering and theft.
She urged States in the Gulf of Guinea region, alongside the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, to step up efforts to establish a stable maritime environment, including through the full operationalization of the maritime security architecture as laid out in the Yaoundé Code of Conduct in 2013. However, she also noted that the Yaoundé Code of Conduct has faced challenges, including the lack of sustainable financing. Its forthcoming tenth anniversary will provide an opportunity to assess its implementation and set out a strategic roadmap for the next decade, she noted, adding that the Council’s support for this process will be invaluable.