Sustainable solutions top agenda as UAE spearheads moves to counter maritime piracy


More than 500 government officials, industry leaders, academics and experts in maritime affairs are gathering in Dubai for the 3rd UAE counter-piracy conference, which opens with its focus on building sustainable solutions through public-private partnerships.
Held under the theme of ‘Countering Maritime Piracy: Continued Efforts for Regional Capacity Building’, the conference is a public-private initiative co-convened by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, global marine terminal operator DP World and Abu Dhabi Port Company (ADPC).

It will be inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, with keynote speaker the President of Somalia, His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Attending are more than 20 minister-level government officials, more than 500 delegates representing over 50 countries, the United Nations, the International Maritime Organisation, top supply chain industry executives and academic experts.

While the conference is being held in the wake of a significant drop in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean regions, there are still a reported 57 seafarers held hostage by Somali pirates with the cost of piracy to the global economy estimated at around $6bn in 2012.

The focus of the conference will remain firmly on the humanitarian as well as economic cost of piracy, and will also discuss shore-based solutions to address the root causes of piracy, building capacity in Somalia to support its recovery as a nation and an economy.

The first day includes a panel discussion with Captain Jawaid Saleem Khan, who was released six weeks after the last conference, after 21 months in captivity, his wife and two daughters. The two daughters were featured in an award winning documentary premiered at the conference last year called The Human Cost of Piracy, commissioned by DP World, when Captain Jawaid and his crew were still held by pirates.

Among the senior Government speakers at the conference are the Ministers of Foreign Affairs for the Netherlands, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Comoros. The first day concludes with an open plenary session on ‘Measuring Success in Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia: A Review of Best Practices’.

The second day includes working sessions in the morning (closed to the media) that cover a range of issues, including security and onshore capacity building, humanitarian assistance in Somalia, improvements and lessons learned for shipping companies, port operators, and mariners. The conference concludes in the afternoon with Government statements and closing remarks (open to media).