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The Abuja Declaration: Communique from the Global Maritime Security Conference 2019

R-L: Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, The DG, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Chief of Policy and Plan, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Enwo, Representative of Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Coordinator, Seas and Oceans Affairs, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Daniele Bosis during the International Press Conference at the end of the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC), held in Abuja from Oct. 7-9, 2019.  
Rising from a three-day conference on
global maritime security, having delegates and participants from about 80
countries of the world, who sat in discussions of 11 different thematic
sessions, the following resolutions were reached and adopted as communique:
1.     In view of the reported incidents of
insecurity in the GoG, the interconnection of the maritime environment and
the shared responsibility for effective ocean governance and maritime security,
the Federal Ministry of Transportation in conjunction with Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency and the Nigerian Navy organised a Global
Maritime Security Conference, on behalf of Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea,
between 7 – 9 October 2019 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
2.     The Conference was attended by
international, continental and regional maritime institutions and stakeholders
as well as representatives from over 80 nations. 

The 3-day Conference featured deliberations
on 11 thematic panels where experts led discussions and proffered solutions
options on a wide spectrum of maritime security and development issues in the

During the Conference a number of observations were made on 4 major
clusters of issues to an amenable regional maritime environment. 

These were:
a.     The legal/policy/regulatory framework for
maritime security.
b.     The institutional framework and capacities.
c.      The material, human, financial,
technological and other resources needed to enhance security in the GoG.
d.     The ways and means of implementing the
necessary strategies for enhanced maritime security in the region.
3.     In view of
these observations, the Conference resolved as follows:
a.     States
of GoG and her international partners should give priority attention to training
and capacity building for relevant stakeholders involved in maritime security
including national maritime authorities, law enforcement agencies and navies as
first responders.
b.     Navies/Coast
Guards and maritime law enforcement agencies in the GoG states should engage in
regular joint maritime operations, including with international partners, to harmonise
operational procedures, training standards and foster interoperability.
c.      GoG
States should explore the possibility of designated maritime courts to handle
cases of sea robbery, piracy and other maritime offences to ensure quick
dispensation of cases in addition to capacity building and sensitization of
judiciary on crucial relevant legislation.
d.     GoG
States should put more efforts to implement various agreed strategies at the
continental, regional and national levels.
e.     GoG
States with the support of regional organisations like the ECOWAS, ECCAS, ICC
and relevant international organisations should continue to ratify and fully
domesticate the provisions of the relevant international conventions including
UNCLOS 1982, SUA and Port States Measures Agreement.
f.      GoG
countries should explore alternative and innovative sources of funding for
their maritime security and law enforcement agencies to enhance the
effectiveness of their response to maritime incidents.
g.     GoG
States should establish repeatable, documentable frameworks for interagency
h.     GoG
states are encouraged to strengthen mechanisms and structures for engagement
with the local communities, fishing communities and seafarers including private
stakeholders for economic benefits.
i.      GoG
States should strengthen, including funding, national, zonal and regional
maritime domain awareness centres to enhance information sharing and
j.      GoG States
are encouraged to sustain regular meeting of heads of states, heads of
navies/coast guards and other maritime enforcement agencies on issues of
maritime security for mutual benefit.
k.     Relevant
regional maritime agencies should engage industry experts/representatives for
informed policy decision on maritime security and related issues.  
l.      GoG
States should promote strategic communications initiative to enhance awareness
on maritime security concerns and potential benefits.
m.    GoG States
should engage in maritime spatial planning of coastal and urban areas to ensure
that maritime security vulnerabilities are not created particularly in proximity
to critical maritime infrastructure.
n.     GoG
States should explore opportunities for maritime law enforcement through
targeted engagement with coastal and fishing communities to support maritime
security efforts.
o.     GoG States
and the international community should put mechanisms in place to ensure that
resources that are illegally harvested/explored in the GoG, including stolen
oil and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishery, are intentionally banned as
was the case with the “blood diamonds”.
p.     Conveners of
this Conference in liaison with ECOWAS, ECCAS, ICC should constitute a GMSC
expert working group to drive the implementation and decisions arising from the
q.     The
Honourable Minister of Transportation of Nigeria should communicate the
decisions and recommendations of this Conference to the Presidency of Nigeria
and onward to ECOWAS, ECCAS, GGC, AU, IMO and other international partners.

Director General/CEO NIMASA
October 2019.                                    

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