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UAE to host the second international counter piracy conference in June

posted on 26/04/2012: 1618 views

In its continued efforts to further advance public-private coordination to counter the growing threat of maritime piracy, the United Arab Emirates, in a partnership between the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and global ports operator DP World , will convene its second public-private international counter piracy conference in Dubai, on 27-28 June.

Foreign ministers and senior government officials from more than 50 countries as well as CEOs of leading global companies in maritime related industries are being invited to the two-day event, entitled 'A Regional Response to Maritime Piracy: Enhancing Public-Private Partnerships and Strengthening Global Engagement', to be held in Dubai between June 27 and 28, 2012.

This UAE driven conference aims to build up on achievements of last year's UAE-hosted forum, which saw over 700 delegates representing more than 65 governments, international organisations and more than 120 representatives of the global maritime industry come together in Dubai to share experiences and develop coordinated international initiatives to face the challenges of maritime piracy.

The first high-level public-private Counter-Piracy Conference, 'Global Threat, Regional Responses: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy', convened in April 2011, was a landmark event in international counter-piracy cooperation. It signalled a transformative moment in the maritime sector's engagement with the international community on counter-piracy, as a number of maritime companies donated funds to the United Nations' Trust Fund for initiatives to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia.

The Conference achieved the unanimous agreement of a strong and substantive Conference Declaration that covered a range of counter-piracy issues, and has since served as a benchmark for regional piracy policies. It also helped emphasise the priority of the threat of maritime piracy among the businesses and governments of the region, and provided an opportunity for the wider international community to reaffirm commitment to supporting the region at the forefront of combating this global challenge.

Piracy's devastating human and financial costs continue with 13 vessels hijacked and 197 seafarers held in captivity in the first three months of this year. Hundreds of families are being victimised by this growing threat; annual financial cost to global trade is estimated at US$12 billion a year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

In this context, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan said: 'The UAE believes that maritime piracy, notably in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean, remains of serious global concern. Pirate activity off the coast of Somalia continues to plague our region. Attacks by pirates endanger the lives of hundreds of seafarers, just as they undermine the prosperity and livelihoods of Somalia, its immediate neighbourhood, and the world.

"This is the second time that the UAE is inviting foreign ministers, industry leaders and international experts to meet together in Dubai, and to coordinate our international response. We are doing so because we continue to believe that an enhanced counter piracy response can be achieved through greater regional and international engagement on this issue of global concern.

"In this second conference, we will build on the significant advances of the first. For the UAE's part, we will emphasise that our collective counter-piracy strategies must emphasise a long-term, sustainable solution. This must include empowering regional states to mount an effective national challenge to disrupt and defeat piracy groups operating off their shores, through supporting the development of national response capacity. It must also include long-term strategies of humanitarian support that address the root causes of maritime piracy.

"The UAE has shared its approach to the challenge of counter-piracy with the Arab League, and continues to work with the Arab League and its Member States in order to deliver a regionally-focused contribution, which benefits from full international engagement".

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World , said: "Once more, we are proud to help facilitate this important dialogue. We are very much aware that the private sector continues to be directly impacted by the threat of piracy; hence we wish to reiterate our endeavour in collaborating closely with the respective governments and the international community in this regard. Piracy is indeed a growing destabilising factor that needs to be combated, not only to help facilitate the safe flow of trade across nations but also to provide a safe working environment for seafarers and peace of mind for their families.

"We are of the view that collaboration through public-private partnership will go a long way to facilitating preventive measures as well as long term solutions to the problem." The UAE's second high-level, public-private counter-piracy conference will further explore key areas of the progress made so far in the global fight against piracy, and comes on the heels of a range of UAE-led counter-piracy initiatives, including its current Chairmanship of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

This year's conference promises to provide a new, regionally-based platform from which the international community can develop the effective response required by the emerging global consensus that maritime piracy represents one of the most uniquely threatening challenges of the 21st century. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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