At the end of April, an additional group of projects to support anti-piracy initiatives in Somalia and other regional countries was approved for funding by the United Nations Trust Fund for the Fight Against Piracy.
The other countries include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Maldives and the Seychelles. The U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Taye-Brook Zerihoun made the announcement in New York. He served as the chair of the Board of the Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
Of the decision, Mr. Zerihoun said, “The dramatic decline in pirate attacks is clear evidence of years of hard work by United Nations Member States, international and regional organizations, and actors in the shipping industry.”
As he continued, though, Zerihoun noted that the decline does not mean everyone can kick back and relax. “The international community should continue to support the efforts of Somalia and states in the region to strengthen their maritime law enforcement capacities and their rule of law sector”. He added that the trust fund was largely used up, and it would need another round of replenishing to further help combat the problem.
A total of $2 million will be split between five projects that are focused on conducting fair trials for Somali pirates, and that there will be no humanitarian infringement during the detention or prosecution of suspected pirates.
Another goal of the projects will be to facilitate the return of pirates to Somalia. Because of the insecurity of the country, most pirates captured in international waters have to be detained in other countries. Nations such as Ethiopia, Kenya and the Seychelles in particular have taken on the burden of housing these prisoners. But as their home nations stabilizes, these projects will help them return and see a fair trial.
The projects will also focus on teaching valuable skills to at-risk youth in Somalia, so that they have alternatives to piracy. For many, piracy was a last resort, so any kind of employment will help supply an alternative to marauding as well as fuel the economic recovery of the country.
The U.N. led development will also supply technology to coastal areas that help monitor fish populations and resources. This biometric information and new radar systems will not only help the fishing industry, but will also help counter-piracy forces increase maritime domain awareness.
Making up the board of trustees for the trust funds are ten nations: Kenya, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Qatar, Norway, Seychelles, Somalia, Turkey, Germany and the United Kingdom. The International Maritime Organization; the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; and the United Nations Political Office for Somalis also have an influence on the trust fund.
Member states and maritime organizations have contributed around $17 million USD, which has resulted in 31 projects. The fund’s main goal is to absorb some of the costs of providing a permanent solution to the problem of piracy, not just addressing its symptoms.