The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) participated to the 2nd Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security and the 22nd Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia which were held in Mauritius from 18 to 20 June 2019.
Organised by the Republic of Mauritius in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Commission with the support by the #MASE programme funded by the European Union, this International conference brought together over 200 participants from over 30 States and regional and International organisations.
The objective of this High Level 3-day meeting was to provide an update on Maritime Security issues and on-going initiatives to address them. There are currently thirty initiatives which aim at addressing maritime insecurities (piracy, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, armed attacks, illegal fishing, money laundering, terrorist risk, pollution …) in the Western Indian Ocean.
The delegates participating in the Ministerial Conference were called for an effective coordination of all these initiatives to avoid overlapping and ensure sustainable security in this actively geopolitical region which is crossed by important global maritime routes.
COMESA, as one of the implementing regional organizations in the Maritime Security Programme (MASE) funded by the EU raised the issue of illicit financial flows and money laundering linked to transnational maritime crimes. The COMESA representative stressed on the urgent need to strengthen regional capacity building efforts to ensure resilience with respect to money laundering.
“This support provided through the MASE Programme has been invaluable in strengthening the Anti-money laundering regimes of our Member states and it has resulted in some very visible impact. Many of the countries that have been supported by the programme now report having stronger Financial Intelligence Units and law enforcement agencies”, stated the Assistant Secretary General of COMESA, Dr Dev Haman during the Ministerial Conference.