COTONOU TO HOST MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON GULF OF GUINEA MARITIME SECURITY An Inter-ministerial Conference of ECOWAS and the Economic Community of
Central African States (ECCAS) on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, is
to be held in Cotonou, Benin Republic on 19th March 2013.
The meeting of Ministers in charge of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of
the 25 countries of the two Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will be
preceded by the technical meeting of experts of the UN Offices for West and
Central Africa (UNOWA and UNOCA), the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC),
International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Maritime Organisation for West and
Central Africa (MOWCA) and the African Union (AU).
The Africa Centre for Strategic Studies and the Institute for Security Studies
will also be represented at the conference which will consider several
documents, including an ECCAS/ECOWAS Political Declaration on illegal maritime
activities in the Gulf of Guinea, for adoption by a Summit of Heads of State
of the two RECs.
Both communities started collaborative efforts in 2011 aimed at developing a
joint maritime security strategy to counter emerging and interlinked threats
to safety and security at sea.
This followed the adoption by the UN Security Council of Resolutions 2018 and
2039, urging countries in West and Central Africa to take urgent steps to
check piracy and armed attacks at sea on national and international levels.
A series of meetings involving ECOWAS, ECCAS, UNOWA, UNOCA and GGC
representatives led to the development of a roadmap which identified the need
to organise a Summit of Heads of State and Government of the two RECs, in
Yaoundé, Cameroon in April 2013.
The previous meetings also led to the preparation of mutually enforceable
texts which will be submitted to the multilateral platform for validation.
It is in conformity with the roadmap and the need to galvanise the necessary
political will around the process that ECOWAS and ECCAS, with the support of
GGC and the UN, are holding the Cotonou ministerial conference.
In addition to a Political Declaration, the Ministers will also consider the
Memorandum of Understanding between ECOWAS, ECCAS and GGC on maritime security
in West and Central Africa, and the Code of Conduct between the three
The Gulf of Guinea Commission comprises Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Sao Tomé and Principe,
while ECCAS is made up of Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic,
Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomé and
Principe and Chad.
ECOWAS on the other hand, comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote
d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger,
Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.