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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


Secretary-General's message to Conference on "Global Threat, Regional Responses: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy" [delivered by Ms. Patricia O'Brien, UN Legal Counsel and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs]

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 18 April 2011

I congratulate the United Arab Emirates for organizing this important event and for its strong support for the regional response to piracy. I am encouraged by the high-level participation of Member States, in particular the Gulf region, and by the active engagement of the private sector. This illustrates the strong global consensus that piracy poses a grave and shared security challenge.

The UN system has long supported Somalia in its peace and stability efforts and we are determined to continue. In recent years, piracy has emerged as a new dimension of this challenge. Piracy is not a water-borne disease. It is a symptom of conditions on the ground, including the overall security and political situation in Somalia. Therefore, our response must be holistic and comprehensive, encompassing simultaneous action on three fronts: deterrence, security and the rule of law, and development. We must work with the Somalia authorities, and we must weave our counter-piracy efforts into an overall solution for Somalia.

The work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is vital in facilitating discussion and coordination among States, organizations, the Somalia Transitional Federal Government, Somalia's regional administrations and the various navies carrying out military action. The “Kampala process”, for its part, brings together high-level representatives of the TFG, “Puntland”, “Somaliland” and southern central Somalia.

My former Special Adviser, Mr. Jack Lang, outlined how Somalia and the international community can step up counter-piracy efforts in the legal realm – for example by consolidating international assistance for increasing prison capacity. Some of his recommendations are already being implemented, albeit on a modest scale, with the assistance of UNODC and UNDP.

The Security Council just adopted a resolution endorsing the key recommendations of the Lang Report, and calling for their swift implementation with the support of the United Nations. The United Nations stands ready to support implementation of these important initiatives.

The Trust Fund for counter-piracy administered by the United Nations has proved to be an efficient instrument. During its first year, the Fund approved 12 projects totaling $4.3 million, and total contributions reached $6.2 million.

This is an encouraging start, but much more needs to be done. I urge you to attend the fundraising event being convened tomorrow by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations, and to generously support the Fund's important work.

The situation off the coast of Somalia is completely unacceptable.

The violence and hostage-taking have taken a great human toll, especially for seafarers. Piracy is also distorting the Somali economy and disrupting shipping lanes that are vital to people around the world.

And the pirates' reach is expanding. Piracy seems to be outpacing the efforts of the international community to stem it.

I therefore reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to work with the international community and the Somali authorities to implement a comprehensive strategy for a sustainable solution to this global menace.

I wish you all the best in your deliberations.

Statements on 18 April 2011