Maritime Security: Moving Beyond Policy Statements to Taking Collective Actions

At the continental and regional levels a number of maritime initiatives and strategies that focus on developing the maritime sector in Africa already exist.

They include the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIMS), African Maritime Transport Charter (AMTC), Maritime Transport Plan of Action, ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS), Lome Charter, Djibouti Code of Conduct, etc. In acknowledging that they are bold and important steps to develop the maritime sector in Africa, an overview of the initiatives and strategies reveal that their full implementation and actualization of set objectives is somewhat constrained. They are yet to be translated fully from policy statements and declarations stage to that of concrete and practical action required to deal with the numerous challenges confronting the sector. The situation is more worrisome when viewed against the backdrop of increasing maritime security incidents in the Gulf of Guinea region.

The objective of the discourse is accordingly to evaluate the various initiatives to ascertain the extent to which they address maritime insecurity specifically and the implementation approach. To be considered also is the issue of collective ‘ownership’ of the security initiatives in place within the Gulf of Guinea, (though having been sponsored or formulated with the involvement of external actors and partners); and the imperative of working out ‘home grown’ modalities for collective regional action vis-à-vis mobilization of human, material and financial resources. As additional measures to improve our maritime security governance and architecture attention will be given to the issue of agreeing on a clearly defined demarcation of different responsibilities of various organizations in the region coordinating maritime security.

Furthermore, the roundtable will look at the type and level of assistance required to help the Gulf of Guinea countries streamline the multiple initiatives into a coordinated framework to efficiently achieve the set objectives.

Dr. Phillip Belcher

Marine Director, INTERTANKO
Will be leading the discussion on this theme at the conference