While piracy off the coast of Somalia was at its lowest level in years, progress was “fragile and reversible”, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs told the Security Council today, stressing that the underlying political instability and lack of alternative livelihoods in the East African country must be addressed if gains were to be sustained.
“Without the continued deterrence support provided by the international naval presence and self-protection measures adopted by the shipping industry, large-scale piracy could return,” Jeffrey Feltman said, introducing the Secretary-General's latest report on the topic (document S/2014/740). Pirates were still capturing vessels for ransom.
“We should not only ask what more needs to be done to ensure that the scourge does not return”, he said, “but also what kind of support could be provided to Somalia so the country is able to respond to the threat without depending on the continuous support of international navies.” Indeed, piracy was a sign of a political problem, requiring a political solution. State collapse was at its root. Security efforts could mitigate the impacts but did not address the underlying causes.
To sustain progress, effective governance that provided basic services and guaranteed rights was needed, he said, a daunting but unavoidable task. State-building and inclusive governance efforts must be Somali led and owned. For its part, the international community should help the Government deliver on its “Vision 2016” and Somali Compact commitments.
Further, more nations must criminalize piracy on the basis of international law, he said, and take steps to deter the financing of piracy and laundering of ransom money. Welcoming the increased willingness among Somalia’s neighbours to prosecute suspects, he recalled that Somali pirates were still holding 37 seafarers. All efforts should be made to secure their safe release and put in place post-release measures to guarantee their well-being.
The meeting began at 3:21 p.m. and ended at 3:31 p.m.