A High level meeting is underway in Mombasa to implement the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) that has been instrumental in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
Speaking during the meeting in a Mombasa Hotel on Thursday, the Maritime Principal Secretary (PS), Nancy Karigithu said the Code has significantly broadened to cover other illicit maritime activities, including human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The PS commended the International Maritime Organization for the relentless effort in bringing together Member States to identify modalities for implementation of the Code.
“Never before has it been more important to cooperate on maritime issues than it is now noting the existing and emerging maritime crimes that impact on the well-being of our economies dependent on global maritime trade,” Karigithu said
She said Kenya is happy to host the meeting which exemplifies its commitment to collaboration with Regional States and partners in combating maritime crime.
“In Kenya, our openness and connectivity is our lifeline and maritime security is crucial for our survival and the health of our blue economy and this cannot be overstated,” Karigithu said.
Countries of the region have acknowledged the need to enhance collaboration and to coordinate actions at sea at regional level.
The PS said the scope of the Jeddah Amendments to the DCoC provides a coherent and comprehensive platform for states at national level to securitize their maritime domain for better ocean governance and improved coordination between national organizations and regional parties responsible for preserving and protecting the seas and oceans.
She commended Member States that signed the Jeddah Amendments and added that implementation is a key concern to everyone in the meeting ensuring that member states to the Code and its amendments implement the terms as agreed.
“I observe that a key output in this meeting will be the identification of a governance structure that will provide avenues for dialogue and decision making. We need to see progress, and with the signing of the Jeddah Amendments in 2017 there is need for tangible outputs,” she said.
The PS said for a Roadmap for the Region to help develop an integrated response for maritime security challenges through maritime domain awareness.
She said part of the input for this is timely information sharing and the Jeddah Amendments do provide the requirements for establishment of national centres that coordinate at Regional Level.
“National Centres that embrace a whole of government approach to information sharing build trust and confidence which is fundamental to maritime security and stability,” she was quoted.
She said a donor forum will enable identify and meet the priorities in the region by conclusion of the two day meeting.
By Joseph Kamolo