NEW YORK (RBC) The United Nations Trust Fund for the Fight against Piracy today approved a package of projects in support of anti-piracy efforts in Somalia and other affected States in the region, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Maldives and the Seychelles.
The announcement was made in New York by United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tay√©-Brook Zerihoun, who chaired the Board of the Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
‚ÄúThe 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,‚Äù said Mr. Zerihoun.
But while acknowledging the gains, we should not be under any illusion that piracy has been conclusively brought under control, Mr. Zerihoun stressed. ¬†‚ÄúThe 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‚Äù. ¬†He added that ‚ÄúWith the Trust Fund‚Äôs resources largely spent, now is the time to replenish the Fund to bridge critical gaps in counter-piracy efforts.‚Äù
The five projects approved today, worth $2 million, aim to ensure that the ongoing piracy trials are conducted in a fair and efficient manner and that the human rights, health and safety of individuals suspected of piracy are protected. ¬†The projects approved today will also facilitate the repatriation from the Maldives to Somalia of detainees suspected of piracy, as well as supporting Kenyan prisons in meeting minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners. ¬†The projects will equip detainees and youth at risk in Somalia with skills employable in gainful livelihoods, deterring their involvement in piracy and contributing to the economic development of their communities. ¬†These projects will provide biometrics-based fishermen database systems to support monitoring and surveillance of fisheries resources while providing important information to counter-piracy forces. ¬†Support will also be provided to law enforcement authorities and prosecutors in front-line States affected by piracy to investigate illicit financial flows from piracy.
The Board of the United Nations Trust Fund for the Fight against Piracy comprises 10 voting Member States ‚Äì Germany, Italy, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Norway, Qatar, Seychelles, Somalia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom ‚Äì and three non-voting entities, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS).
Since its establishment in January 2010, the Trust Fund has received some $17 million in contributions from Member States and the maritime industry. ¬†It approved funding for 31 projects, worth almost $16 million, as well as $700,000 to meet short-term needs related to unforeseen expenditures. ¬†The Fund aims to help defray the expenses associated with the prosecution of suspected pirates and other activities undertaken in the fight against piracy.