The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has welcomed a Ghana-Norway resolution on Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea unanimously adopted by the United Nations Security Council.
The resolution is key to national security, the livelihoods of Ghana’s coastal and fishing communities, foreign investments in the oil and gas industry, shipping costs, trade, and the economy as a whole. The decision of the entire Council to support the resolution comes after a long and difficult negotiation process.
The Ministry said the issue of maritime security has been the country’s priority in the UN for a very long time. It is recalled that the Minister for National Security represented the Foreign Minister in New York in December 2021 during the launch of the Stable Seas Report by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime.
The report revealed that the Gulf of Guinea has overtaken the Gulf of Eden as the epicenter of piracy with 130 maritime kidnappings out of the 135 global incidents in 2020, in addition to all the 40 kidnapped crew recorded globally in the first quarter of 2021 with an estimated cost of over a billion dollars, including the cost of national efforts to police the seas.
In a statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, expressed gratitude to Norway, Ghana’s partner in drafting the resolution, and also to co-sponsors and all members of the Council for supporting the resolution. She welcomed the strong signal of unity in the Council, after a period of regrettable division on matters of international peace and security.
“The resolution was “a down payment of the United Nations on Ghana’s priorities at the Security Council to reduce and eliminate the incidence of piracy and criminal marine activities that threaten the security and economic well-being of the people and countries in the Gulf of Guinea maritime zone.” Madam Ayorkor Botchwey declared.
The Ministry said the disruption to commerce in the Gulf of Guinea should be a cause for concern as the criminal activities carried out on the high seas have been detrimental to the development of coastal economies in the region and risk compounding the multifaceted challenges facing the region. It said it is for these reasons that Ghana and Norway, jointly initiated the resolution to re-focus global attention and garner the necessary support to help address the situation of the Gulf of Guinea.
The resolution builds on existing frameworks including resolution 2039 (2012), and focuses on the need to criminalize and prosecute acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as on measures to further enhance national, regional, and international efforts in dealing with the situation.
It also requests the Secretary-General to report on current efforts, including an assessment of the possible links between piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea and terrorism in West Africa, and proffer recommendations for enhanced efforts and support for a national and regional response.
The implementation of the resolution would strengthen regional initiatives such as the Yaounde Code of Conduct and its associated Maritime Coordination Centres in addressing the menace in a sustainable manner.