The United States will join partners from more than 50 countries and international organizations at the United Nations in New York January 28 for a plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, a growing diplomatic effort that is making steady progress against criminals targeting Africa-bound humanitarian aid shipments and other vessels transiting one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors.
The plenary, hosted by Norway, will be the fifth gathering of this unique international partnership, established in January 2009 by 24 nations and six international organizations to coordinate an effective international response to piracy in the Somali Basin and surrounding waters following the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1851. Since then, the Contact Group has doubled in size, a testament to the global consensus that piracy poses a shared security challenge to maritime safety. Among its accomplishments in its first year, the Contact Group has:
- Coordinated operations of an unprecedented international naval effort from more than 20 countries working together to escort vessels and patrol the vast waters of the region. The United States stands with NATO and the European Union in these efforts, and also looks to build on new counter-piracy cooperation with countries like China, India, and Russia.
- Partnered with the shipping industry to improve practical steps merchant ships can take to avoid, deter, or delay pirate attacks and encouraged their adoption through the New York Declaration �� a parallel political commitment developed outside the Contact Group by ship registry states to implement these internationally recognized best management practices, which have proven an effective deterrent and leading factor in the declining success rate of pirate attacks.
- Developed an International Trust Fund to defray expenses related to prosecuting suspected pirates and other Contact Group initiatives. The United States supports prosecution-related efforts, as well as capacity-building programs to help countries in the region and elsewhere become more self-sufficient in confronting pirate attacks and prosecuting suspected pirate and their enablers.
To learn more about U.S. support for international efforts against piracy, visit www.state.gov/t/pm/ppa/piracy/index.htm