Thank you for convening this important meeting. We thank the distinguished speakers for their remarks and for sharing experiences and lessons learnt from their respective areas of expertise.
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct. We commend the States in the Gulf of Guinea region for demonstrating their continued commitment to the full operationalization of the Yaoundé Architecture.
Acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the region have been steadily declining since 2021 and Norway is encouraged by the positive progress made. We have seen that improved cooperation, combined with effective piracy convictions in national jurisdictions and deterrent naval patrols by national navies, notably through Nigeria’s “Deep Blue” project, have contributed to this success. Just last month, Norwegian Foreign Minister Huitfeldt visited NIMASA and the project in Lagos to continue the conversation on how we can work together in the region to further this positive trajectory.
Despite these key successes, piracy continues to plague the region, with incidents becoming more serious and sometimes deadly. Piracy has a detrimental impact on growth and stability, and as highlighted in the 2021 study supported by the UNODC, the estimated cost of piracy amounts to almost two billion dollars a year for the states of the region.
Looking forward and at how we can address the remaining challenges, we would highlight three points. First, the need to strengthen the institutional framework; second, addressing the underlying drivers for piracy and armed robbery at sea; and third, enhancing partnerships.
The Yaoundé Code of Conduct, the Lomé Charter and other instruments are good frameworks. But further implementation is needed. Several countries in the Gulf of Guinea have made progress on new laws and regulations allowing for the prosecution of pirates, and we commend them for this work. We call upon other States in the region to build upon this development, and to criminalize, investigate and prosecute acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea in accordance with applicable international law and international human rights law. Criminalization, investigation, prosecution, and cooperation is key in addressing the remaining challenges going forward.
Looking to underlying drivers, a whole-of-society approach is needed to address poverty, education for all, and unemployment, as well as increased climate resilience. We acknowledge the PBC’s intervening role in this regard and welcome their engagement regarding coordinating efforts and mobilizing resources.
On enhanced partnerships, we believe there is still potential for strengthening our cooperation. Placing maritime security on the agenda here today is part of that.
Security Council Resolution 2634 on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, facilitated by Ghana and Norway last year, represented a call for action. Norway stands ready to contribute to making this year’s Yaoundé Code anniversary a meaningful and implementation-focused success.
I thank you.