Lusaka, 23rd August 2018: The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Community (EAC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) with support from the European Union Commission have resolved to step up their efforts to ensure that piracy does not resurge.  Speaking during the opening ceremony of a steering committee of the Regional Maritime Security Programme, which was developed to strengthen the region’s capacity to fight against piracy, Assistant Secretary General of COMESA in Charge of Programmes, Dr. Kipyego Cheluget emphasized on the importance of addressing structural factors that could provide an opportunity for pirates.  In that regard, he informed the meeting that money earned from piracy was still in circulation and used to fund other transnational crimes.  He therefore called for concerted efforts to “follow the money”.

Following these illicit funds is very important to enable the arrest and prosecution of the kingpins of piracy or at least disable them……..we should also aim at the forfeiture of assets earned from such money as well as ensure that the proceeds do not continue to find their way into financial systems” – Kipyego Cheluget, Assistant Secretary General – Programmes.

He noted the unique and valuable role the different regional organisations and implementing agencies of the programme play in eradicating piracy and other maritime threats and urged the implementing organisations and partners to strengthen their collaboration.  He expressed appreciation to the European Commission for their financial contribution to the project.

Also speaking at the opening Mr. Ivo Hoefkens from the European Union reiterated the EU’s commitment to supporting the region in developing its capacities to address organised crime in the maritime domain. He also referred to the importance of maritime security for developing the benefits the Blue Economy can offer to the region. In that respect, he informed that the EU is preparing with its regional partners, new support actions for the fisheries sector, for maritime and port security, as well as for coastal urban development.

Also present at the meeting were representatives of the European Union Delegations in Djibouti and Tanzania.  The meeting was also attended by other international partners, namely the UNODC, INTERPOL and FAO and a few member state

About COMESA 

COMESA is a regional economic community established by Treaty in 1994. It brings together 21 Member States with a population of over 540 Million into a cooperative framework for sustainable economic growth and prosperity through regional integration.

About the MASE Programme 

The regional Maritime Security programme (MASE Programme) is implemented by Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Regional Organisations namely Intergovernmental Authority on Development - IGAD (overall coordinator), EAC (East African Community), COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) and IOC (Indian Ocean Commission).

MASE is a € 37.5 million EU-funded Programme for the period 2013-2020. Other partners include European missions, UN Agencies (UNODC, FAO) and INTERPOL.

The Programme comprises five result areas:

  • Result 1 by IGAD: Addressing livelihood concerns of coastal communities against piracy in Somalia;
  • Result 2 by EAC: Enhancing legal, legislative and infrastructural capabilities to combat piracy and other maritime crimes;
  • Result 3 by COMESA: Dismantling financial networks linked to maritime crimes and minimizing their economic impact;
  • Result 4 by IOC: Building and improving capacities for surveillance and control at sea;
  • Result 5 by IOC: Promoting and coordinating exchange of maritime information.

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