Implementing AIM Strategy 2050
The African Union Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 (AIM Strategy 2050) was adopted in January 2014. The central objective of the Strategy is to foster increased wealth creation from Africa’s oceans and seas by developing a sustainable thriving blue economy in a secure and environmentally sustainable manner.
Achieving this objective requires a well-coordinated institutional mechanism for training, education and research. CEMLAWS provides a suitable platform for driving the implementation of the AIM Strategy by focusing on the objectives of the strategy and translating that into practical outcomes through policy guidance, delivery of training needs and innovative research.
Djibouti and Gulf of Guinea Code of Conducts
The Djibouti and Gulf of Guinea (Yaoundé) Code of Conducts have different scopes and strategic contexts but with a shared objective of combating piracy in the East and West coast of Africa respectively. Whiles the Djibouti Code covers a region with declining piracy (the East African Coast/ Indian Ocean) the Gulf of Guinea is seeing rising and complex piracy trends. This has placed higher expectation on the Yaoundé Code of Conduct to deliver appropriate responses to piracy incidence in the region. Thus ECOWAS member States are working on implementing a maritime strategy along the lines of the ECCAS framework adopted in 2009.
Lessons learnt from anti-piracy efforts in the Indian Ocean can contribute to enhancing maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. Nonetheless, the Gulf of Guinea is a different strategic environment with unique piracy profile and law enforcement challenges. The expertise available in CEMLAWS essentially contributes to an understanding of anti- piracy efforts in the Indian Ocean, the lessons and tools that can be drawn from that, and how to shape the future of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.
EU – CRIMGO
Historical connections may define maritime interest while strategic, economic imperatives and geographical contiguity may equally shape the maritime interest of a nation or region. These two statements hold through for individual EU States and the EU as an institution. EU’s Maritime interest in Africa spans fisheries, energy security, combating trans-national organized crimes (especially narcotics trafficking and people smuggling) and maintaining political influence. The EU Critical Maritime Route in the Gulf of Guinea Project (CRIMGO project) is its flagship initiative for enhancing maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
CEMLAWS’ work in this area focuses on examining how the GRIMGO project can effectively contribute to the maritime security needs of the States covered by the initiative. Since the CRIMGO project is situate within the EU’s Instrument for Stability (IfS) thematic area, the Center also looks into the prospects of enduring benefits and impact of the project beyond piracy and maritime security.
Protection of Offshore Infrastructure
The budding offshore oil industry of the Gulf of Guinea is critical to global energy security. Offshore Gulf of Guinea has brought not only added reserves and quality of supplies but also logistical and transportation advantages. However, these positive elements are being challenged by the increasing security threats and instability in the region. CEMLAWS work in energy security is anchored on the understanding that maritime security is a continuum of the land through the sea front into the oceans. Thus, what we do in the area of energy security is analyzing and defining threat indicators as well as appropriate responses in the land-sea spectrum.
Marine living resources provide a substantial proportion of the world’s nutritional needs. The contribution of fish to dietary protein in Africa is at an average of 50% and as high as 80% for some States. Fishing is also the primary source of employment of coastal communities and especially for women. Therefore the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’S) is intricately linked to sustainable exploitation of fisheries and the effective management and conservation of marine living resources in general.
While it is common to only focus on IUU Fishing (Illegal Unreported Unregulated fishing), CEMLAWS looks at broader governance, economic and political dynamics that impact on sustainable fisheries in Africa. We believe that it is within this broader scoping that IUU Fishing which is estimated to be causing Africa billions of dollars in loses can be effectively addressed.
Piracy & Law Enforcement
Global responses to piracy off the coast of Somalia have led to significant development in both international and domestic law on piracy. In sum, this has led to what is now known as the law approach to piracy – investigation, building of evidence and prosecution. This component of anti-piracy measures is still ongoing in the Indian Ocean and part of the scope of research and review of CEMLAWS.
Significantly, however, the Gulf of Guinea presents a cobweb of jurisdictional issues and challenges that the Somali experience does not answer. CEMLAWS unique understanding of the anatomy of Gulf of Guinea Piracy and the corresponding legal challenges is vital to building effective global, regional and national law enforcement approach to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea context.
Marine Pollution and Bio-diversity
Africa is in essence a huge island washed by the Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans and also the Red and Mediterranean seas. This maritime profile brings along pollution, bio-diversity and wider anthropogenic challenges. Land and sea base pollution including those from shipping and offshore exploration activities impact gravely on marine living resources and the health and quality of the oceans. Thus, coastal flora and fauna as well as sensitive coastal habitats are being destroyed at faster rate.
Current response frameworks such as the UNEP Regional Seas Program, the Abidjan Convention and the MARPOL Convention require functional national and regional ocean policies within which their effectiveness can be realized. CEMLAWS is positioned to work with states and relevant regional and international bodies and institutions to develop ocean policy frameworks in Africa to tackle wider maritime interest and concerns including pollution and bio-diversity.