Nairobi, Kenya, 2018, November 26 to 28: Participation of the RMIFC in the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE SUSTAINABLE BLUE ECONOMY

The Regional Maritime Information Fusion Center participated in the International Conference on the Sustainable Blue Economy, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 26 to 28 November 2018 through the Regional Maritime Security Program (MASE Program) funded by the European Union to promote maritime safety and security in the Eastern, Southern and Indian Ocean Region (ESA-IO) for the development of the sustainable blue economy.

More than 18,000 people registered around the world to attend this conference, which saw the participation of eleven (11) Heads of State. Various activities were planned on the sidelines of the plenary sessions, including exhibition stands with the participation of 68 States and international structures.

Stands and exhibition

The 4 international organizations coordinating the 5 results of the MASE Program, were thus represented at the side events, including:

  • The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) for the result 1 which consists in promoting alternative livelihoods in Somalia, advocating against piracy among the local population, and strengthening maritime coordination mechanisms, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture (UN-FAO)
  • The East African Community (EAC) for result 2 for the enhancement of national and regional legal, legislative and infrastructural capacities for the arrest, transfer, detention and trial of individuals suspected of acts of violence and piracy, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UN-ODC) through its program on global maritime crime.
  • The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) for result 3, consisting of regional capacity building in the fight against financial networks related to piracy and money laundering while acting on the structural actors to reduce the economic impact of illicit financial activities related to maritime insecurity, in partnership with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
  • The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) for results 4 and 5, consisting of the coordination of regional intervention operations at sea and the exchange and sharing of maritime information between all users of the shipping circuit of the ESA-IO Region, by setting up the Regional Coordination Operations Center (RCOC) located in Seychelles and the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Center (RMIFC) hosted by Madagascar in partnership with the European Union Project CRItical MAritime Routes in the Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO)

Side Event on the activities of the 5 results of the MASE Program

Several activities were organized in the side of the plenary meeting by the MASE Program for the Promotion of Maritime Security and Safety in the ESA-IO Region. In this context, a side event was held on the morning of Monday, November 26, 2018 on the following topics at the University of Nairobi, TAIFA Hall:

– “The establishment of a regional mechanism to improve maritime governance in the ESA-OI region” led by the Project Coordinator of the Indian Ocean Commission

– “Strengthening legislative and infrastructural capacities in the process of arrest, transfer, detention and prosecution of suspects in acts of piracy” presented by the UNODC Director of Programs, the Coordinator of Outcome 2 to EAC and Regional Project Director at INTERPOL

– “Illicit finance and maritime insecurity, obstacles to economic and social development Blue economy development”, presented by The Director for Peace and Security and the COMESA Program Coordinator

– Presentation by the Coordinator of the MASE Program on “The Maritime Safety Coordination Committee: Key Elements of the Maritime Governance Improvement Mechanism in the Horne of Africa”

– “The promotion of alternative lively hoods” presented by the Coordinator of the Coastal Community against Piracy Project to UN-FAO.

– “Maritime security in the Horn of Africa, beyond piracy”, presented by the EUNAVFOR Political Adviser, from the CGPCS Working Group Operation

– “The importance of regional cooperation in promoting the blue economy”, presented by the Secretariat of the Regional Capacity Building Working Group

Meeting of the National Focal Points of the MASE program results 4 and 5

The afternoon of Monday, November 26, 2018 was marked by a meeting of the National Focal Points (PFN) of the MASE Program Results 4 and 5 held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi with the following agenda:

  • Contracts for regional missions
  • The acquisition of MASE equipment
  • Update on the appointment of International Liaison Officers
  • Update on the approval of the addendum for the MASE average increase

First meeting of the Steering Committee of the RCOC and the RMIFC

In addition, the conference on the sustainable blue economy was also an opportunity for the signatory states of the two regional agreements on the establishment of the RCOC and the rmifc, to hold the first meeting of the Steering Committee, decision-making body of the two regional centers on the morning of Tuesday 27 November, to discuss the policy for implementing their missions. This first meeting of the Steering Committee was attended by the representatives of the five signatory countries of the two regional agreements in April 2018. The draft rules of procedure of the Steering Committee, its work plan and the respective presentation were discussed during the meeting and also , the RMIFC and the RCOC on the balance sheet of activities since their operationnalization. The representative of the Union of Comoros was elected President of the Steering Committee and the next meeting of the Committee will take place in Comoros.

Accession of France and Kenya to the regional agreements for the establishment of the CRCO and the CRFIM

Advocacy for the relevance of regional integration in the securing of the maritime domain resulted in the first day of the conference to the adhesions of France and Kenya to regional agreements for the establishment of a mechanism for exchange and Maritime Information Sharing and Coordination of Operations in the ESA-IO Region in the Western Indian Ocean, formalized by a signing ceremony at both Agreements by the Kenyan Minister of Defense and the Ambassador of France to the Republic of Kenya on November 27, 2018 in the evening.

After the signatures, France and Kenya became respectively the sixth and the seventh State Party to the two regional agreements. This membership is of paramount importance for the strengthening of regional maritime security in the sense that patrols and operational interventions will be strengthened, and the exchange of maritime information and data consolidated through the collaboration of the seven States Parties to the two regional agreements.

Intervention of the RMIFC during the side event organized by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kenya on the role of the Coast Guard in maritime safety for the promotion of the blue economy

On the final day of the conference, November 28, 2018, the RMIFC was invited to speak at the side event organized by the Kenyan Ministry of Defense focusing on the theme “Coast Guard and the Blue Economy: The Role of coast guards in maritime security for the prosperity of the blue economy “. The RMIFC presented the regional approach to maritime security through the implementation of the RMIFC and the RCOC to strengthen national capabilities. He ended his speech by emphasizing the inseparability of maritime security and the blue economy, thus advocating for the improvement of the Coast Guard’s intervention capacity and the importance of regional cooperation in the exchange of information and maritime data sharing.

The participation of the RMIFC in the international conference on the blue economy is therefore a perfect success. The RCOC and the RMIFC hope very much for the realization of the commitments of each State and each structure starting with the assignment of the International Liaison Officers who will support the team of the two centers, already operational for a long time, besides the increase of the grant for the operationalization of the two centers. The Kenyan Defense Minister also pointed out that Kenya’s accession to regional agreements is one of the success stories of the conference.