by Dalmar Gure
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia will have a plenary meeting on the 25th of July at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The group which includes the United States along with 70 other counties, international organizations and members of the private sector will meet to discuss ways on tackling piracy in one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors.
The plenary, who is hosted by Spain, will be meeting for the twelfth time since its inception in January 2009. Since then the contact group has nearly tripled in size from its original membership. Proof that the world agrees piracy poses a communal security challenge to maritime safety and that the solution must be through a greater global consensus.
Since the organization was founded, it has coordinated international naval patrols of over 30 countries working together to protect vessels. This has been done by the US working alongside with multilateral coalitions such as NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield and the EU’s Operation ATALANTA.
In Somalia, the contact group has contributed to the UN Trust Fund Supporting Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. This is seen as a way to strengthen Somalia to combat piracy.
A new initiative has been aimed at disrupting the pirates’ financial and logistical networks ashore by using techniques that have been previously applied to other organized transnational crime syndicates.
In late June there was a major anti-piracy conference in Dubai that urged public and private solutions to the piracy problem. The president of Somalia has urged countries to give him the tools and training to effectively combat piracy instead of contracting the work of the coast guards to private security firms.