The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) was created on January 14, 2009 pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851. This voluntary, ad hoc international forum brings together countries, organizations, and industry groups with an interest in combating piracy. Participants seek to coordinate political, military, industry, and non-governmental efforts to bring an end to piracy off the coast of Somalia and to ensure that pirates are brought to justice. The Contact Group often meets in plenary at the headquarters of the United Nations; in November 2013, the Contact Group met for the first time in the Horn of Africa in Djibouti. Its four Working Groups meet regularly around the world to develop and implement national counter-piracy policies and programs.
Nearly 80 countries and several international organizations participate in the Contact Group, including the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union, the International Maritime Organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and various departments and agencies of the United Nations.
The Contact Group’s four Working Groups are:
- The “Capacity Building Working Group,” focuses on strengthening the ability of regional partners to cope with maritime crime. The United Kingdom and the Indian Ocean Commission co-chair the group.
- The “Virtual Legal Forum” co-chaired by Portugal and Mauritius supplants Working Group 2.
- The “Maritime Counter Piracy and Mitigation Operations Working Group Co-chaired by Japan, Seychelles, and the United Arab Emirates serves as the main CGPCS interface with the shipping industry. It also oversees the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) mechanism to coordinate operational entities patrolling off the Horn of Africa.
- The “Working Group on Disrupting Pirate Networks Ashore,” under Italy’s leadership focusses on tracking financial flows, and providing political support to the newly formed Law Enforcement Task Force (LETF).
U.S. Point of Contact: Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/CPA), U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, email@example.com.