Ongoing Decline in Gulf of Guinea’s Piracy, Armed Robbery Encouraging, But Support Needed to Fully Implement Yaoundé Architecture, Briefers Tell Security Council
Providing encouraging news about the decline in piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea, briefers from both the United Nations and regional organizations also stressed the need to address obstacles hindering the complete implementation of the interregional maritime security mechanism — the Yaoundé Architecture — as the Security Council took up the matter of peace and security in Africa today.
Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, attributed the decline in piracy and armed robbery at sea to the concerted efforts of national authorities and support received from regional and international partners. Expressing her appreciation for the progress achieved by the Gulf of Guinea States and subregional organizations, such as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, she reported that, over the past decade, these entities have demonstrated commendable strides in operationalizing the key pillars of the Yaoundé Architecture.
However, while that mechanism has yielded significant outcomes, including improved information-sharing and optimized utilization of limited naval assets, she said it was imperative to secure increased support to overcome obstacles hindering its full potential, such as inadequate staffing, insufficient equipment and unpredictable financing. As well, recent data indicates a shift in incidents from the ECOWAS waters to the ECCAS maritime domain. In this context, she emphasized the necessity of reviewing the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, particularly with regard to addressing underlying economic challenges that contribute to the recruitment of individuals into these criminal networks.
Also briefing the Council, Gilberto Da Piedade Verissimo, President of the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States, said the Gulf of Guinea region of Central Africa faces many challenges linked to security and illegal and unregulated fishing, among others. The downward trend in armed robbery at sea can be attributed to States that are now equipped with improved international vessels, a greater international presence in the area and a boost in the sharing of information. Recalling the 2013 agreement among ECCAS, ECOWAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission through the Yaoundé Architecture, he noted that much progress has been achieved, but more remains to be done to advance maritime security there.
Echoing those sentiments, Omar Alieu Touray, President of the Economic Community of West African States Commission, underscored the positive outcomes resulting from the establishment of networks between his organization and ECCAS. Such collaborations have significantly enhanced trust among key stakeholders and the execution of joint maritime operations and exercises. Regarding the Yaoundé Architecture, he expressed the possibility of transforming the Yaoundé Code of Conduct into a legally binding framework, which would further strengthen its effectiveness.
Jose Mba Abeso, Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, told the Council that piracy remains a persistent challenge in the Gulf of Guinea. While acknowledging the efficacy of the Yaoundé Architecture, he expressed concern that some countries have been too slow in adopting its Code of Conduct into their national legislation. “The countries of the Gulf of Guinea region should be encouraged to ratify the Code and fully implement its provisions,” he said.
Taking the floor, many Council members lauded progress in the Gulf of Guinea, but also urged regional actors to remain diligent and committed to maritime security, lest hard-won gains be reversed.
Ghana’s delegate warned that the region is not “out of the woods yet, as we continue to witness vestiges of piracy, armed robbery and illegal fishing”. She urged regional and international players to implement agreements designed to fight maritime insecurity. On the root causes of piracy, she said they can be addressed with the prioritization of investments aimed at resolving increasing levels of poverty and high unemployment among the region’s young people.
Echoing a similar sentiment, the representative of the United Kingdom encouraged continued focus on the impact of youth unemployment, as well as environmental degradation in creating conditions for such criminal activity. Any efforts to tackle piracy and armed robbery must comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he added.
The representative of the Russian Federation expressed concern that piracy activity increasingly resembles a “finely tuned criminal business”. Given that piracy and armed robbery at sea are often associated with other types of crime, she called for the establishment of a specialized mechanism under the auspices of the United Nations.
Brazil’s representative, hailing progress achieved in the Gulf of Guinea as a stellar example of “bringing African solutions to African problems”, also emphasized: “This is, first and foremost, an accomplishment by the States of the region, as they bear the leadership and primary responsibility to counter piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea.”
The meeting began at 3:01 p.m. and ended at 5:30 p.m.
MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, said that, since her last briefing to the Council on the matter in November 2022, instances of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea have continued to steadily decline. This decrease is due to the significant efforts of national authorities and the support of regional and international partners. Another key factor contributing to this positive trend is the ongoing operationalization of the interregional maritime security mechanism, the Yaoundé Architecture. She welcomed the steady progress made by the Gulf of Guinea states and subregional organizations, notably the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, towards operationalizing the Architecture’s key pillars of the over the past decade.
The operationalization of the Yaoundé Architecture has resulted in enhanced information-sharing, as well as a simplified process for disseminating security-related information with key stakeholders, she continued. In addition, it has facilitated the efficient use of limited naval assets through the formation of joint naval task groups. This effective pooling of resources of Gulf of Guinea States has allowed for the bridging of national and regional capacity gaps. Still, she called for increased support to address several challenges holding back the full operationalization of the Yaoundé Architecture. These include insufficient staffing, a lack of appropriate equipment and a lack of predictable financing. Rapidly addressing the challenges that hamper the full operationalization of the Yaoundé Architecture is critical to maintaining current gains.
Recent figures suggest that incidents are shifting from the waters of ECOWAS towards the ECCAS maritime domain, she noted, urging ECCAS, ECOWAS, the Gulf of Guinea Commission and the Interregional Coordination Centre to boost efforts towards the review of the status of its operationalization. Any review of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct must include a focus on three key issues. First, the criminalization of acts of piracy and the establishment of universal jurisdiction over such acts under national law, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea remains necessary. Second, to effectively eliminate the threat posed by piracy, key stakeholders must actively seek to address underlying economic and environmental challenges that underpin the recruitment of individuals into these criminal networks. Finally, enhanced coordination between the signatory parties, the Interregional Coordination Centre, the Gulf of Guinea Commission, ECOWAS and ECCAS remains essential, she said.
GILBERTO DA PIEDADE VERISSIMO, President of the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), speaking via videoconference, said this Council meeting indicates the multidimensional importance of maritime security issues in Africa and the challenges faced by African States in the region. As a maritime African area in the Atlantic Ocean, the space covers Central and Western Africa; in Central Africa, the Gulf of Guinea extends from Angola in the south to Cameroon in the north. The area holds tremendous hydraulic, aviation, mining, commercial and tourism potential and is a source of hydrocarbons. Yet, the Gulf of Guinea region of Central Africa faces many challenges linked, inter alia, to security and monitoring; the protection of marine ecosystems and threatened species; illegal and unregulated fishing, climate change and natural disasters; and coastal erosion and environmental security.
Regarding security issues, he said that, beyond unregulated fishing, there was an attack 25 March on the tanker Monjasa Reformer off the coast of Port Pointe-Noire. Yet, overall, there were 55 incidents of maritime security during the first six months of 2023, a reduction of piracy and hostage-taking over the past several years. This downward trend can be attributed to States that are now equipped with improved international vessels, a greater international presence in the area and greater sharing of information. The creation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum, established in April 2021, has helped coordination work. Over the past decade, member States of ECCAS have worked to increase maritime security through such activities as expanding the exchange of information, carrying out community monitoring of maritime space; harmonizing relations among Member States; and creating financing mechanisms.
He went on to say that, in 2009, ECCAS adopted a commitment to coordinate efforts and counter insecurity in the maritime space of the Gulf of Guinea. This protocol established a security strategy for ECCAS member States with vital interests in the Gulf of Guinea. This protocol also established a regional maritime security centre for Central Africa and boosted coordination. In 2013, ECCAS decided to formalize its cooperation with ECOWAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission through the Yaoundé Architecture. It has organized maritime conferences and has increased cooperation with bilateral and regional partners, as well as advocated for Member States’ sovereignty over their waters, he noted.
OMAR ALIEU TOURAY, President, Economic Community of West African States Commission, said that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has evolved considerably over the last 14 years. The response of the region and the international community included joined bilateral maritime operations among countries and the adoption of landmark resolutions by the Security Council. Highlighting substantial progress in inter-institutional coordination, he pointed to the adoption of the Maritime Strategy and the deployment of critical maritime infrastructure in the area which has improved maritime awareness in the Gulf of Guinea. In this context, he stressed that the ECCAS Maritime Security Architecture established a Regional Centre for Maritime Security in Central Africa in Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo, as well as multinational maritime coordination centres in Zone D in Douala, Cameroon, and Zone A in Luanda, Angola.
The establishment of networks between ECOWAS and ECCAS has improved information-sharing on maritime situational awareness, conduct and planning of joint maritime operations and exercises with various multinational maritime coordination centres and national maritime operational centres, he continued. This improved information sharing led to Nigeria’s first arrest and successful prosecution of suspected pirates who attacked a Chinese Fishing vessel — HAILUFENG 11 — in the Ivorian Exclusive Economic Zone. Similarly, in Togo, in July 2021, suspected pirates were arrested by Togolese forces. The Global Maritime Crime Programme facilitated the Supplementary Act on the conditions of transfer of persons suspected of having committed acts of piracy and their associated property and evidence for prosecution among member States, adopted in Accra, Ghana, in July 2022. Other coordinated operational activities included the Nigerian Navy Ship Okpabana’sspecial forces arresting pirates that attacked Panamanian Oil Tanker MT Maximus within the waterways of Sao Tome.
Spotlighting collective responses that led to the improved maritime security situation in the Gulf of Guinea, with continuous downward trends in piracy and armed attacks, he said that actual and attempted piracy and sea attacks declined from 31 in 2015 to 15 in 2022. In 2023, incidence of piracy and armed attacks further declined to five attacks in the first quarter of 2023. Accordingly, he called on the international community to improve its potential investment in the region. Turning to the Yaoundé Architecture, he emphasized that the International Criminal Court should extensively review the planning and organization of the process. As such, the Yaoundé Code of Conduct can be transformed to a legally binding framework. He also noted that critical stakeholders like G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea — under the Co-Chair of Côte d’Ivoire and Germany — should be involved in hosting the tenth year anniversary of the Yaoundé Architecture within the West African subregion.
JOSE MBA ABESO, Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, speaking by videoconference, said that safety and security challenges in the region continue to impede economic activities. Recalling that, on 25 March, a product tanker was hijacked from Pointe Noire, in the Republic of the Congo, and its six crew members kidnapped, he said piracy is a “recurring decimal” in the Gulf. However, he recognized the effectiveness of the Yaoundé Architecture, reporting that in the first quarter of 2023, only five incidents of criminal activities at sea were reported, as compared to 16 in 2021. Regional cooperation — through information-sharing, joint maritime operations and coordinated naval exercises — strengthened response capabilities in the Gulf. More so, the countries in the region continue to enhance their legal framework and legislation on maritime security by adopting and implementing laws criminalizing piracy and armed robbery at sea, including Nigeria, which just enacted into law the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act 2019.
The countries in the region are also joining efforts to establish a Combined Maritime Task Force, he said, adding that on 22 May — on the margins of the Presidential Fleet Review in Lagos — 11 Gulf of Guinea countries signed the Concept of Operations. He urged the Council members to endorse and mobilize international support for the Task Force. Turning to the regional challenges, he said some countries have been slow in adopting and incorporating the Yaoundé Code of Conduct into their national legislation, while pointing out that not all countries have ratified it. Also noting that the Inter-regional Coordination Centre in Yaoundé is hampered by the lack of resources, equipment and personnel, he underlined its need for funding. To review progress and challenges of the Centre, ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission will organize a fourth annual meeting of the Heads of Institutions of the Inter-regional Coordination Centre in the third quarter of 2023.
He went on to underscore the importance of engaging non-State actors, including criminal networks and armed groups. While maritime crimes in the region are linked to poverty, unemployment and lack of alternative livelihood opportunities, it was important to address socioeconomic challenges by resource allocation, capacity-building and information-sharing, among others. “The countries of the Gulf of Guinea region should be encouraged to ratify the Code and fully implement its provisions,” he stressed, calling on regional and international stakeholders to provide assistance to countries in overcoming barriers to the Code’s ratification and implementation. In addition, he encouraged them to conduct training programmes and provide technical assistance for naval forces, coast guards and law enforcement agencies, while also undertaking routine patrols, incident responses and investigations. Highlighting the importance of regular evaluation of the Code’s provisions and strategies to adapt to emerging threats, he said the Gulf of Guinea Commission will occasionally organize sensibilization workshops and outreach activities to this end.
CAROLYN ABENA ANIMA OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana), while welcoming the decline in maritime insecurity in the region in recent times, noted that it did not happen by chance. The positive development can be attributed to several factors, including strong concerted action in strengthening cooperation among stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, increased naval presence and sharing of intelligence and strengthened judicial processes that have led to the prosecution and conviction of pirates. These efforts need to be sustained, she stressed. Despite gains made, she noted that the region is not “out of the woods yet as we continue to witness vestiges of piracy, armed robbery and illegal fishing”.
It is essential to prioritize implementation of regional instruments designed to tackle maritime insecurity, tackle the root causes of piracy and armed robbery at sea, and adopt a whole-of-society approach that includes the private sector and local communities, she continued. Regarding the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, she noted the operational, logistical, funding, and technical gaps hampering its full implementation. Turning to the root causes of piracy, she said that they can be effectively addressed with the prioritization of investments aimed at resolving increasing levels of poverty and high unemployment, especially among the region’s youth. It is important to strengthen cooperation under continental initiatives such as the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy with critical agencies in the United Nations family.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan) noted the decline in acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea keep is a result of strengthened national efforts and increased regional cooperation, naval patrols and piracy convictions. The progress must be sustained through continued national ownership and partnerships, as well as addressing the root causes of maritime insecurity. Coastal States should maintain ownership as they work to criminalize acts of piracy and other forms of maritime crime in their respective national laws. They must also establish prosecution procedures and improve enforcement capabilities. All efforts to tackle piracy and armed robbery must comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is the legal framework used to monitor all activities in the ocean and seas.
NORBERTO MORETTI (Brazil) said that maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is a positive result achieved in Africa in recent years. “This is, first and foremost, an accomplishment by the States of the region, as they bear the leadership and primary responsibility to counter piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said. Regional groups working together towards this end is an example of “bringing African solutions to African problems”. Having said that, a recent uptick in maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea show that the joint efforts by regional countries and organizations must continue, lest hard-won gains be reversed. Piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf have an impact on the economy of the whole region. They disrupt shipping, trade and Government revenues, he said, noting the connection between maritime security and the social and economic development of coastal regions.
ALEXANDRE OLMEDO (France), commending the significant drop in acts of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, said that the countries of the region should criminalize acts of piracy, conduct investigations and facilitate prosecutions. Further, he stressed the need to operationalize the Yaoundé Architecture. The Council must remain mobilized and continue to closely monitor maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea as these threats are constantly evolving. Also, the international community must be vigilant about any link between organized crime and terrorism, he said, adding that coastal countries are under increasing security and humanitarian pressure from Sahelian terrorist groups. In this context, he recalled that the European Union is the only partner to deploy a continuous maritime presence in support of the States of the Gulf of Guinea. Highlighting the link between piracy, climate change and illegal fishing, he called for a broad approach, also integrating issues of governance, development, support for local communities and the preservation of ecosystems.
LILLY STELLA NGYEMA NDONG (Gabon), spotlighting the tangible results in maritime security cooperation facilitated by the Yaoundé Architecture, pointed out that States situated along the Gulf of Guinea are better coordinating to surveil waters, increase naval patrols and improve information-sharing. This, along with joint patrols conducted by coastal States and international partners, has resulted in a reduction in acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the region. Despite this notable progress, however, maritime piracy continues to impact the everyday activities of coastal populations. Such piracy is affected by — and goes hand in hand with — the rising tide of violent extremism, terrorism and the negative impact of climate change on the livelihoods of local communities. She stressed that the fight against piracy, therefore, must go hand in hand with measures to foster socioeconomic development. Any response will only be effective if it tackles the crime’s root causes, which include poverty, social inequality, youth unemployment and the consequences of climate change.
FERGUS JOHN ECKERSLEY (United Kingdom) pointed out that international efforts are having a positive impact, demonstrated by a continued decline in incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. This is largely thanks to the strength of regional cooperation in tackling this issue. He also expressed pride in his country’s collaboration with partners to promote security and stability, including the visit by the HMS Trent in 2022 to deter attacks on maritime trade. Further, the Yaoundé Code of Conduct has provided a crucial framework that underpins increased regional integration, and he urged signatory States and relevant regional bodies to continue enhancing their collaboration. However, he stated that any efforts to tackle piracy and armed robbery must comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Adding that the drivers of piracy remain complex and multi-faceted, he encouraged continued focus on the impact of poverty, youth unemployment and environmental degradation in creating conditions for this criminal activity.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) commended the actions taken in the past decade by countries situated along the Gulf of Guinea and the advancement of intraregional cooperation, noting that these efforts have led to a steady decline in maritime incidents. Such countries must continue their work to combat piracy and maritime crime. That requires a holistic approach addressing root causes, including the adverse effects of climate change, employment opportunities for youth and governance deficits. The Yaoundé Architecture — led and owned by regional States — has been effective in tackling maritime insecurities, but such States must provide further strategic guidance and bolster cooperation to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks, strengthen intelligence-sharing and leverage the private sector. She added that maritime security efforts must be in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provides a comprehensive framework to establish peace, good order and security for coastal States.
MARIA ZABOLOTSKAYA (Russian Federation) said that, in addressing new threats, it is important not to lose sight of old and seemingly long-forgotten challenges, such as piracy and armed robbery at sea. Modern "flibustier” are well organized and their actions are becoming more daring and their tactics more sophisticated, attacking ships primarily to take hostages for ransom. This poses a real threat to the lives of seafarers and jeopardizes the safety of navigation, international trade and the economic well-being of coastal States. Piracy activity increasingly resembles a “finely tuned criminal business”, she observed, detailing attacks on ships. Most occur closely to the shore, and in such cases, they are by definition not piracy but armed robbery at sea. Given that piracy and armed robbery at sea are often associated with other types of crime, she advocated for the creation of a specialized structure under the auspices of the United Nations.
DARREN CAMILLERI (Malta) said a comprehensive review process of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct should be regionally led by the Gulf of Guinea States and regional organizations and structures, with the involvement of international partners and other relevant stakeholders. Enhanced coordination is required and an exchange of information and shared strategies are essential to help coastal States protect their national waters. The Yaoundé Architecture must also be underpinned by sustainable funding. This includes sufficient financing from Member States and regional structures and international partners. The Gulf of Guinea countries should also strengthen their efforts to introduce robust legal frameworks to prosecute perpetrators of piracy, armed robbery, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and other crimes that obstruct maritime security in the region. Without an effective legal framework, there can be no deterrence to the crimes committed and he welcomed the agreement reached by ECOWAS States on the Supplementary Act on the conditions of transfer of persons suspected of acts of piracy.
ANDRÉS EFREN MONTALVO SOSA (Ecuador), underscoring the importance of joint international action — as illustrated by the Yaoundé Architecture — welcomed the third Extraordinary Session of Heads of State and Government of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, held on 25 April, that called for development of a strategic framework. Highlighting the support of the G77++ Group of Friends of the Gulf of Guinea, he expressed hope that the downward trend in piracy — observed since 2021 — will continue until piracy is eradicated once and for all. He also recalled the Peacebuilding Commission’s meeting in May, where his country appealed for continued and improved cooperation between the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), UNODC and UNOWAS in relation to maritime activities in the Gulf of Guinea, pointing out that this work should be carried out under the national ownership principle and in consultation with the countries concerned.
RICCARDA CHRISTINA CHANDA (Switzerland), highlighting the Gulf’s decline in incidents of piracy, said that the operationalisation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct remains essential to enhance maritime safety. She encouraged countries in the region to extend their collaboration in the areas of justice and information-sharing. Likewise, the cooperation of regional organizations, such as ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, is key to making progress in this area. To tackle the root causes of piracy and maritime crime, the development of a sustainable blue economy is essential. This would reduce the vulnerability of coastal populations, and therefore, offer young people the economic opportunities they deserve, reducing the risk of them being drawn into illicit activities. It also means recognizing the growing role of women in the fishing industry, she emphasized, adding that all the States in the region should adopt laws criminalizing piracy.
PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique) said that his country — as a maritime nation by nature and destiny — recognizes the importance of secure waters for the economic and social progress. Recalling that the Mozambique Channel — a 1,800-kilometer-long waterway between Madagascar and East Africa — carries around 30 per cent of global tanker traffic annually and is thought to have the world’s largest gas reserves, he said that Mozambique defends this Channel — along with the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea — from piracy. The decrease of piracy and armed robbery at sea in recent years was ensured by the Yaoundé Code of Conduct. Calling on the Council to continue its support in combating transnational organized crimes in the Gulf, he highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of maritime insecurity; implementing international, regional and national legal frameworks; supporting the Code of Conduct’s operationalization; and enhancing capacity.
DAI BING (China), pointing out that the Gulf of Guinea is a shipping route of global importance, stressed that safeguarding its maritime security is a responsibility shared between regional countries and the international community. The Gulf covers a vast area rimmed by many countries and piracy therein is characterized by a high degree of elusiveness. Stepping up regional cooperation therefore is integral to an effective response, and regional countries must embrace the concept of common maritime security and leverage regional organizations to advance the development of a regional piracy strategy. He also stressed that, as anti-piracy operations implicate the maritime sovereignty of coastal States, countries outside the region should respect the leadership of coastal States while playing a constructive role. He added that the international community must help coastal States improve the operational efficiency of their maritime enforcement agencies and navies and accord due attention to the root causes of piracy.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) stressed that maritime security in the Gulf is essential to a safe and prosperous Atlantic Ocean, both for Atlantic nations and those who depend on its waters for their livelihood. He commended the African Union, ECCAS, ECOWAS, the Gulf of Guinea Commission and their partners for their coordination in enhancing cooperation on maritime security. Citing the importance of resolution 2634 (2022), he noted his country will continue to assist partners as they address the grave and persistent threat of piracy, armed robbery and transnational organized crime and support the aim to criminalize those acts. Through the collaborative efforts of many nations, the frequency of piracy has greatly decreased, and he encouraged regional actors to maintain that progress. Further, the United States has pledged to increase its collaboration and coordination with nations across the Atlantic to address security threats in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond, he said.
AMEIRAH ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates), Council President for June, speaking in her national capacity, underscored the importance of regional perspectives in enhancing maritime security and reducing crime in the Gulf of Guinea. With 20 commercial ports representing 25 per cent of Africa’s maritime traffic, she noted the Gulf’s 70 per cent decrease of piracy and armed robbery compared to 2021. Underscoring the need to combat arms-smuggling and illegal trafficking of natural resources — which non-State actors employ as sources of financing - she also called for protecting seafarers. She also suggested finding sustainable solutions for the environmental degradation, exacerbated by climate change, and the increasing incidence of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing by foreign industrial vessels. “The next 10 years will be decisive in terms of making more innovative, effective and coordinated efforts,” she stressed, highlighting the need for building on the experiences of other Africa’s regions.