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TRANSCRIPT: AU's Mwencha Addresses Geostrategic Importance of Africa's Maritime Domain
African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha delivered a keynote address on "The Geostrategic Importance of Africa's Maritime Domain: Opportunities and Challenges" to an audience of African, U.S. and European partners
African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha delivered a keynote address on "The Geostrategic Importance of Africa's Maritime Domain: Opportunities and Challenges" to an audience of African, U.S. and European partners during the Maritime Safety and Security: Towards Economic Prosperity Conference October 13, 2010, at the Millennium Hotel in Stuttgart, Germany. Mwencha's complete presentation highlighted threats, opportunities and challenges of Africa's maritime domain, and identified African Union initiatives and the way forward. The deputy chairperson's prepared remarks are below. Ambassador Yates, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Advisor on Strategic Planning, National Security Council; Ambassador Carson, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the US Department of State; Ambassador Huddleston, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; General Ward, Commander, US Africa Command; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, It's indeed a pleasure to deliver this keynote address on the occasion of this 2010 Africa Maritime Safety and Security, Towards Economic Prosperity Conference. Permit me to congratulate the U.S. Africa Command for funding and hosting this event. I also wish to congratulate the co-sponsors, namely the Department of State and the Department of Defense, as well as the supported, i.e. the U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) and Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS). As the host nation is currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of it reunification, it is my pleasure to congratulate Germany on this occasion. On this same day in 1968, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea accessed to independence. I wonder if there is anyone on here from this great nation, but it is my pleasure to congratulate the Republic of Equatorial Guinea on this occasion. October seemed to be a good month to access to independence in Africa, so allow me to congratulate the Republic of Guinea, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Zambia and the Kingdom of Lesotho. -- My goal of the Commission through the next slides is 2-fold: -- First, to explore the opportunities of Africa's maritime domain and the Challenges it poses to us; -- Second, to connect our discussions to the way forward. -- To do so, this presentation will focus on Security Threats and vulnerabilities to stability and Development in Africa and share some views of the AU's efforts to address Africa's maritime Challenges. (Slide: World map indicating number of vessels in waterways per square nautical mile) Water covers more than two-thirds of the Earth's surface and affects life everywhere. Africa the planet's 2nd largest continent and the second most-populous continent (after Asia), is 30 million kmm area, stretching deep into the southern oceans. It covers one-fifth of the total surface of the earth covered by both land and water. Its total length of coastlines ranges more than 39.000 kilometers. Africa is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Africa is a BIG Island, and needs to have a better situational awareness of all activities in its adjoining oceans and seas. Africa borders the major sea lanes of the world and is therefore strategically situated. This in and of itself demands great attention on the part of Africa's costal States in terms of protection of maritime domain that had so far not been comprehensively secured for the African people. As the backbone of international commerce, oceans and seas are vital to African expectations in dignity, in peace, in security (and I mean "human security"), in economic development, transportation, energy, communication, trade, environmental and scientific research, historical and cultural heritage, etc. Thirty-eight (38) African countries are either coastal or island states. Only 15 of them are landlocked, non-coastal, or preferably "landly connected". Fifty-two of its one hundred ports handle containers. Whilst African owned ships account for about 1.2% of world shipping by number and about 0.9% by gross tonnage, these ports handle 6% of worldwide water borne cargo traffic and approximately 3% of the worldwide container traffic. On this slide, every red dot represents a certain number of vessels in a square nautical mile. Some of the activities are far from the coast, but many more are within the territorial waters of coastal States. Over the past four decades, total sea borne trade has more than quadrupled. Ninety percent of world trade and two-thirds of its energy supplies are conducted by sea. The world's oceans and seas are interlinked, and action in one sea or one policy area with a direct or indirect impact on the sea may have positive or negative effects on other seas and policy areas. Whilst over 46% of Africans live in absolute poverty--a figure that is steadily rising, fish makes a vital contribution to the food and nutritional security of 200 million Africans and provides income for over 10 million. African maritime domain provides a lifeline and a means of live hood for various communities (transportation, fishing, marine resources, tourism, wave energy, maritime industry, harbor and transport infrastructures) (Slide: In Africa, Threats undermine the Security office?) You don't need to read all the data on this slide, but it is a very interesting one. It shows how, in an interconnected manner, any threat can gradually undermine the security of: -an individual, -a State or Society, and -at a greater level, the security of whole Region, or the Intl trade as it is the case with the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia today. When these threats undermine the security of all these categories, there is obviously a need for action. Responsibility of Action gradually lies with: Individual, Community, National Gvts, the AU PSC and other organs, as provided for by pertinent articles in the Constitutive Act of the AU, and Ultimately the UN. (Slide: Threats to Africa's maritime domain)

(Slide: IUU fishing) More than 200 million people in Africa feed regularly on seafood, which is an important part of their nutrition. On average it accounts for 22% of their protein intake, with some countries at 70%. Fish is the most affordable source of protein for the poor in Africa and it also provides them with vital nutrients crucial to a healthy diet. The fish supply crisis is of particular concern because of the impact on food security of the poor in the region. In scarcity, prices increase and that will make such a vital protein commodity too expensive for the poor. The supply crisis is a combination of many factors, that include rapid population growth, many fish stocks being overfished both in coastal and inland waters, rapidly increasing fishing effort in small-scale fisheries, increasing fishing pressure from foreign industrial fleets, often from distant water fishing nations, and widespread Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU Fishing), are mainly carried out as noted by foreign fishing enterprises. IUU fishing is a global issue with many harmful environmental, economic and social impacts. Global trade in IUU-caught fish and fish products is estimated to be worth between US$ 4-14 billion per year. Over US$ 1.0 billion of this trade is from Africa. If population growth continues as projected, Africa will need about 61% more fish per year by 2020 just to maintain the current consumption level. Over the past 5 decades, the minimum loss from IUU - and over - fishing in Africa may in aggregate, exceed USD 50 billion. These are crimes of a global nature. Without a concerted effort by the global community, the health of Africa's oceans and most significant inland waterways will be irreversibly damaged. We must take the lead in these efforts. (Slide: Environmental crimes) The tragic consequences of the 2006 illegal dumping of toxic waste in the coastal area of Abidjan calls to mind, the dangerous and life threatening effects these could have, even after environmental cleanup. The potential for adverse human health and environmental effects of transnational dumping of hazardous waste in Africa cannot be overemphasized. Transnational dumping of hazardous waste refers to the illegal export of hazardous waste by developed and industrialized countries to developing nations, usually African countries. Hazardous waste is the inevitable by-product of industrial development and several manufacturing processes. They must be properly managed and contained. As a matter of fact, a Dutch court is to give its judgment in the 2006 illegal dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan, a case involving the British and Dutch-based multinational Trafigura. The company is facing three charges - which it illegally exported waste from a European Union country to Africa; that it delivered a hazardous substance to a Dutch contractor without revealing just how toxic it was; and that it falsified papers. According to official estimates, there were 15 deaths, 69 persons hospitalized and more than 108,000 medical consultations resulting from the incident. In addition, more than 400 children died since the beginning of 2010 from lead poisoning in northern Nigeria. The source of the poisoning has been traced to lead-contaminated waste dumped from illegal gold mining. The contamination, which affects young children and pregnant women the most, is thought to have affected as many as 18,000 people. The former UN envoy for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has stated that "because there is no (effective) government, there is ... much irregular fishing from European and Asian countries," and that the UN has "reliable information" that European and Asian companies are dumping toxic and nuclear waste off the Somali coastline. However, he stresses that "no government has endorsed this act, and that private companies and individuals acting alone are responsible." In addition, Ould-Abdallah told the press that he believes the toxic waste dumping is "a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster (for) the Somali environment, the Somali population," and that what he terms "this illegal fishing, illegal dumping of waste" helps fuel the civil war in Somalia since the illegal foreign fishermen pay off corrupt local officials or warlords for protection or to secure counterfeit licenses. Allegations had emerged that following the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in late 1991, Somalia's long, remote shoreline was used as a dump site for the disposal of toxic waste. The huge waves which battered northern Somalia after the tsunami are believed to have stirred up tons of nuclear and toxic waste that was illegally dumped in Somali waters. There is a need for coastal awareness of the illegal dumping of hazardous waste: unwanted mobile phones, computers and printers, which contain cadmium, and other poisonous elements. The UNEP has estimated that 20-50 million tons of electronic wastes (e-wastes) are discarded each year throughout the world, whilst 70% of these products end up in poor countries, despite the Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Importation into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa, despite the Basel Ban Amendment, under the Basel Convention, which prohibits the exports of e-wastes from developed countries to developing countries. E-waste contains a lot of lead and also mercury and cadmium that cause multiple toxic problems. According to health experts, exposure of children to lead can have a wide range of effects on children's development and behavior. When exposed to small amounts of lead children may become inattentive, hyperactive and irritable. In addition to this, children with greater lead levels may also have problems with reading, learning, delayed growth and loss of hearing which can lead to permanent brain damage and even death. It has also been observed that both children and adults living around dumping sites tend to overact at the slightest provocation, a behavior some health specialists attribute to the effects of e-waste. In the past the issue of global warming was seen as insignificant and by some largely exaggerated. However, its detrimental impact on the environment has forced us to rethink as we deal with the global challenges of climate change. Similarly, the issue of E-waste should not be ignored as a problem of the future. (Slide: Arms/drug smuggling) In Africa, the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons is opaque, amorphous and dynamic. The clandestine nature of this trade makes it impossible to confirm these estimates, but what is obvious is that in Africa the illicit trade in small arms is counter-developmental on many levels. Concerning drugs trafficking, Just four years ago the UNODC said that Africa was a continent that was really effectively insulated from the global drugs traffic. Africa has now succumbed to drug trafficking, and this organized crime is carried out mainly by boats. Drugs not only enrich organized crime... Terrorists and anti-government forces in the Sahel extract resources from the drug trade to fund their operations, purchase equipment and pay young foot-soldiers. (Slide: Oil bunkering) Bunkering involves siphoning oil from the network of pipelines that criss-cross oil fields and creeks into private barges. This is then ferried out to rusting tankers and sold on the black market. According to a special report from the United States Institute of Peace, the loss to the economy from illegal oil bunkering in the Gulf of Guinea between 2003 and 2008 totals approximately US$ 100 billion. In addition to loss of revenue, oil bunkering: - fuels violence and insecurity, - feeds corruption, - finances the purchase of weapons, - corrupts youth, - causes environmental pollution and - destabilizes communal life. (Slide: Human trafficking) Human trafficking relies significantly on seaborne transportation that utilizes the same maritime routes used by drug smugglers and international criminals. This underscores the need for a robust and coordinated continental maritime security policy realm. According to the UN, 60% of the world's human trafficking occurs in Africa. (Slide: Sea piracy) In 2004, there were only two pirate attacks reported off the coast of Somalia. In 2007, 31 acts of piracy and armed robbery occurred off Somalia, up from 10 in 2006. In 2008, 111 attacks were recorded, with 44 hijackings, while in 2009, 217 attacks were recorded, with 47 vessels hijacked and 867 crewmembers taken hostage. World attention on piracy off the coast of Somalia has diverted attention from the growing threat of attacks off West Africa. The International Maritime Bureau (IBM) informs that more than 100 pirate attacks off West Africa had taken place in 2008; but only forty (40) were reported; in 2009, twenty height (28) incidents were reported for Nigeria. As at this morning, since the beginning of 2010, 125 pirate incidents have been registered off the East coast of Africa, and 26 off the West. It should be noted that the root cause of piracy off of the coast of Somalia is illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste in Somali waters by foreign vessels, practices which have severely constrained the ability of local fishermen to earn a living and forced many to turn to pirating instead. Pirates interviewed by news agencies have suggested that, in the absence of an effective national coastguard following the outbreak of the Somali Civil War and the subsequent disintegration of the Somali Armed Forces, it became the most viable option to protect Somali waters. Additionally, the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom reported that, in the period 2003-2004, Somalia lost about $100 million dollars in revenue due to illegal tuna and shrimp fishing in the country's exclusive economic zone, by foreign trawlers. Distinguished participants, An estimated 700 foreign-owned vessels were engaged in unlicensed fishing in Somali waters in 2005, according to the Somali fishery country profile compiled by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In 2005, the farthest attack occurred 165 nm (304 km) off the coast; in 2006/7, the farthest attack occurred 200 nm off the coast; in 2008, the farthest attack occurred 445 nm off the coast; in 2009, the farthest attack occurred 1000 nm (1,852 km) off the coast; on 18 April 2010, an attack was register as far as 1,300 nm (more than 2,400 km) off the coast of Somalia. The hijacking, closer to India than Somalia, represented a substantial increase in the pirates' range and a clear signal from pirates, to the international community. They are not out there "for exercise". Teenagers in Somalia have to make a choice between earning 1 or 2 dollars a day or with ladder and a Kalashnikov, with an old speed boat, earn millions of dollars in a single hijack offshore. If the international community wants to solve this issue, we all need to strive for the resurrection of Somalia. Through an indigenous holistic approach, we need to "somalialize" the integrated solution to this problem, to go beyond our respective comfort zones. The issue is that there is no peace and stability on land because Somalia has been wracked by conflict ever since President Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. It is important however to note, as you may be aware, that the 6,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force (AMISOM) is now in control of more than 40% of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. We have appealed to the international community for more funds to increase the force to 20,000 and top up its operational capacities by inter alia providing it with a more capable naval component. (Slide: Natural disasters, global warming and environmental degradation) Africa's seas, as part of the world's oceans, play a key role in maintaining the natural balance of the Earth's biosphere. Interaction between the atmosphere and the oceans and seas has a large influence on climate and weather patterns. Furthermore, plant life in the oceans is an important part of the 'lungs' of the planet, and photosynthesis in the seas and oceans is responsible for the removal of a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Over the 20th century, sea levels rose between 10 and 20 centimeters (4-8 inches). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) puts predictions of 21st century sea level rise at 9 to 88 cm (3.5-34.6 inches), thanks to the greenhouse gasses we have emitted to date and likely future emissions. This will come in roughly equal measure from melting ice and from thermal expansion of the oceans (water expands as it heats up). Natural disasters have ravaged many regions of Africa causing considerable damages to vast ecosystems, loss of human and marine lives, and consequently livelihoods. Examples of this can be found in diminishing fish stocks. Africa's disaster profile from 1980-2006 suggests that disasters caused damage worth USD 22 billion, killed more than 700,000 and affected more than 300 million people. (Slide: Is Africa under attack) Distinguished participants, It would us more time to elaborate on the magnitude of the threats and vulnerabilities we encounter in Africa's maritime domain. When you look at them and assess their impact on Africa's future, you can say Africa is under attack. The leading threat to Africa's maritime domain however remains the threat of ignorance. Until there is a true understanding of the geo-strategic importance of Africa's maritime domain for Africa's socio-economic development growth, how central it is for the wellbeing and prosperity of millions of Africans, the scope and magnitude of all the afore mentioned threats and vulnerabilities will continue to grow. With this full understanding comes responsibility. (Slide: The world in 2050) By 2050 it is estimated that the earth's human population will be 9.07 billion. 62% of the people will live in Africa, Southern Asia and Eastern Asia - numerically this is the same as if all the world's current population lived just in these regions. This slide illustrates the history and predictions on the global economy through 2050 with data sourced from Madison, IMF, and Goldman Sachs. 60% of the world's population lives in Asia, which is directly connected to Africa, via the Indian Ocean. The economic growth of China and India turns the Indian Ocean into a strategic zone of greater importance where 70% of the world oil business transits. In 2005: China rose to the ranks of a global economic power and set out on a course to surpass other nations in terms of economic might. As we peer into the time machine, in 2050, China has soared above many nations. Europe, once the motor of industrialization, has fallen markedly behind. With just over a billion people (a 2009 estimate), Africa's population could grow to 2 billion by 2050. If nothing is done today for a better governance of Africa's maritime domain, the price will be far much higher in the future. (Slide: The world in 2050 geostrategic concerns) Expansion of the global system has increased the prosperity of many nations. Continued economic growth will create increasing competition for resources. Already, transnational corporations and international /intergovernmental organizations have continued to exploit the African maritime domain at will. This has heightened increased competition for maritime and other resources. Global geostrategic concerns will grow over: Climate change. Oceanic Wealth Competition. Protectionism and Internationalism.. Legal/Jurisdictional Issues. New colonialism. Recurrent systemic breakdown. Irregulars/Non-State Actors. Globalization, Delocalization, Localization and relocalization. (Slide: Opportunities) Africa's maritime domain is a vast depository of resources. When fully tapped, it will provide African societies, with additional resources to strengthen development including food, energy and human security. The potential for harvest energy from the ocean current is great. There is an opportunity to take advantage of this alternative source of energy. However, ocean energy has experienced several consistent barriers to include: sea-blindness, insufficient funding and lack of efficient technology. If you can take an engine and put it on the back of a boat or propel a ship through water, why not take a look at the strength of tidal stream turbines, wave energy, river hydrokinetic, ocean current and ocean thermal in and around Africa and determine if they can actually turn a device and create energy in Africa? It's renewable, emission free and reliable. The predictions at this point estimate that the strength of the Gulf Stream could generate anywhere between four to 10 gigawatts of power, the equivalent of 4 to 10 nuclear power plants. Furthermore, the United Nations estimates the total possibility of ocean energy at 15 trillion kilowatt-hours. There cannot be sustainable socio-economic development without peace and security, and without development and empowerment no sustainable peace will occur. Security in this regard covers a wide area, to include: security of personnel and property, security in the streets, security of States, land and maritime security for coastal States, and security of the maritime domain. Therefore, the ability of development policy to ensure long-lasting peace should be fully comprehended and put, accordingly, to task. The interdependence between security and development, including poverty reduction, lies at the crossroad of the accelerated diversification of threats to human and state security. Providing the cooperation to conduct sustainable development with Africa's maritime domain in mind may have the potential for laying the groundwork of international global positive peace and security. Therefore, building on the security-socio-economic-development nexus, the Commission intents to assess the broad spectrum of current marine activities, and take full advantage of the potential for wealth creation from sustainable governance of all Africa's Oceans & Seas. The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic Ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. (Slide: Challenges) Let us now explore some the challenges to address at national, regional and continental levels. (Slide: National challenges) The miss-alignment of Navies/Coast Guards versus Africa's challenges is something to address, so as to right-size the assets. The Mechanisms in place do not involve local communities, interest groups and the private sector. African nations have yet to muster enough political will to fight against sea-blindness at all levels. THERE IS AN ABSENCE OF INTERAGENCY COOPERATIVE APPROACH! (Slide: Regional challenges) Regional economic communities should be involved at early stage of the development and implementation of Africa's Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIM-Strategy), and when I say "regional" please understand that I mean what the international community would refer to as "sub-regional". The challenge at regional level also lies in the harmonization, synchronization and coordination of the various initiatives related to maritime security and safety. A business case at regional level cooperation is the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) MoU on the Establishment of an Integrated Coast Guard Function Network and the Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS) strategy for the security of offshore vital interests of ECCAS Member States. (Slide: African Union challenges) In response to the above mentioned challenges, the AUC will have to push for the establishment of a representative continental working group of Chiefs of the African Navies/Coast Guards to scrutinize issues of situational awareness in the whole African maritime domain and to uphold cooperative efforts between Navies/Coast Guards of the AU Member States. This action will speed up the development of the naval component of the African Standby Force. (Slide: African Union initiatives) It is against this background that the Commission pays a particular attention to the matter of maritime security and safety in Africa. These last years, the question has been approached only from the angle of piracy. The Commission actively participates in many of the initiatives underway to comprehensively address this phenomenon, to include the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), and the IMO-led Djibouti Code of Conduct. The Commission continues to believe that the matter of maritime security and safety in Africa is much broader than piracy and armed robbery at sea. The need for Africa to address these cross-cutting challenges by developing an Integrated Maritime Security Strategy is in line with the solemn declaration of the Heads of State and Government at their Second Extraordinary Session on 28 February 2004 in Sirte, Libya, which decided on the development of a Common African Defense and Security Policy (CADSP) for the AU. It is also in line with the African Plan of Action adopted on 31 August 2009 by the special session of the Assembly of the union on the consideration and resolution of conflicts in Africa, held in Tripoli, Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government (Assembly) held in Sirte, Libya, from 1st to 3 July 2009 adopted the 1st decision on the matter of maritime security and safety in Africa. As a follow-up to that decision, from 6-7 April 2010, the Commission organized at the AU Headquarters a workshop of cross-sector Experts on maritime security and safety, from all AU Member States. Furthermore, in the decision adopted by the 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly held from 25 to 27 July 2010 in Kampala, Uganda, the Assembly lent its support to the efforts being undertaken by the Commission including the elaboration of a continental strategy for the management of the continent's maritime domain and stressed, in this context, the importance of adequate protection of the African maritime domain and that of Island States in particular, against all organized crimes, as well as illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste. The 6-7 April 2010 workshop organized by the Commission provided an opportunity to review the challenges facing Africa in terms of maritime security and safety. In this respect, and in the context of relevant national legislations and international conventions and instruments, emphasis was placed on issues relating to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU Fishing), dumping of toxic wastes, arms and drugs trafficking, human trafficking, oil bunkering, piracy and armed robbery at sea, etc. This workshop stressed on the need to assess the broad spectrum of marine activities, and take full advantage of the potential for wealth creation from sustainable governance of the whole maritime domain of Africa. In the framework or the ASF, the Commission has developed a maritime strategic lift concept. The inter-States maritime boundaries are well covered by the AU Border Programme. This will reduce the risk of inter-States dispute on maritime boundaries that can lead on conflicts. In October 2009, during the second Conference of African Ministers responsible for maritime transport held in Durban, Republic of South Africa, adopted, together with the African Maritime Transport Charter, a resolution on maritime safety, maritime security and protection of the marine environment in Africa, as well as a plan of action. The African Maritime Transport Charter was adopted during the Kampala Summit held last July. The AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention, provides for coordination of activities to address drug control and crime prevention was adopted by the AU Assembly in January 2008. On 24 March 2010, in Abuja, Nigeria, the AUC initiated the AU COMMIT, which is a new two-pronged campaign to operationalize African Union's four-year old continental instrument to address the challenges of trafficking in human beings, particularly women and children was launched through regional workshops. Other challenges like Water resources and Environment protection are also addressed by the AUC. It is worth mentioning that on 24 October 2009, the Heads of State and Governments of the 11 Member States of the ECCAS took a firm decision on the implementation of the Regional Centre for the Maritime Security of Central Africa, Headquartered in Pointe Noire, Congo-Brazzaville. The structure would help in putting in place ECCAS maritime strategies. Another initiative is the MOWCA MoU of an Integrated Coast Guard Function Network. It is also worth recognizing other significant initiatives to include (i) NATO counter piracy operations off the Horn of Africa, (ii) the African Partnership Station (APS), designed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa to foster enhanced maritime safety and security in Africa, (iii) the European Union Naval Force Somalia-Operation ATALANTA and (iv) the International Maritime Organization (IMO) initiated Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCC) concerning the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Open for signature by the 21 countries in the region (15 have already signed). The Commission actively participated in the framing of the DCC resolutions, and it is also an active member of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). (Slide: Way forward) At this point, I would like to bridge our discussion to the way forward. The Commission is working towards the implementation of the African Maritime Transport Charter and the Durban Resolution on Maritime Security and Safety and protection of the environment. The Commission is to encapsulate all relevant cross-cutting initiatives and develop an overarching multilayered Africa's Integrated Maritime Security Strategy (AIM-Strategy), a long-term common vision that would aim at addressing seaborne challenges to Africa's maritime domain and sustain more wealth creation from the oceans and seas. This AIM-Strategy will help streamlining accessible resources, foster economies of scale and increase efficiency. This will require a cross-sectorial/departmental multilayered approach, with subject-matter action plans. Measuring the effectiveness of the AIM-Strategy, it will be extremely important to conduct a SWOT analysis to figure out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (both internal and external) of the entity in question. This may require taking certain precautionary measures. The challenge in developing the AIM-Strategy is that it must pass three tests: a. Suitability (will it achieve the desired Ends, i.e. to protect and allow efficient exploitation of Africa's maritime domain for the benefit of the people of Africa?), b. Acceptability (does it have Member States and regional support? Is it worth the cost?), c. Feasibility (do we have the means to execute the ways?). A conference will be organized on an annual basis, where cross-sector Experts and Politicians will meet to track progress towards addressing Africa's multifaceted maritime challenges. In other to further emphasize our individual and collective responsibility to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources, it would be appropriate to strategize and launch a pan-African "No more sea-blindness" campaign that will enhance the necessary political will at various decision-making levels. The real End State of this endeavor is an increased dignity of African citizens. (Slide: Way forward) In the 2050 multilayered vision that the AUC is developing, this illustration indicates the grand-timeframes of growth in respect of Cooperation, Capacity-building and Coordination (what the Commission calls the 3Cs). The start point, as can be seen, is barely visible (the peak of the pyramid). However, progressive 3Cs within and between the RECs would broaden the base and embrace the entire continent. The prospect for Maritime Viability "consolidation" as depicted at the base of the pyramid will constitute the End State. The red and blue arrows indicate that whilst some activities will begin and end within a specific grand-timeframe, others will be developed throughout all the grand-timeframes. The "Urgent Vs Important" matrix to be developed during subsequent workshops will lead to the set up of a sound prioritization scheme of implementation for the first 5-year period covering 2010 to 2014. These subsequent workshops will also address the necessary means, the foreseeable constraints and explore ways to tackle them during the first 5-year period. (Slide: Conclusion) To conclude, let me share with you what H.E. Dr. Jean Ping, the Chairperson of the AUC said, and I quote: "this is Africa's moment to leave a legacy for Africa's people and to make history", end of quote. The political will in this endeavor is critical, and the AUC will work to heighten the level of political commitment within the Regional Economic Communities and Member States. A collaborative, concerted, cooperative, coordinated, coherent and trust-building long term multilayered effort of all the stakeholders to build the blocks in concert with improving elements of maritime governance will result in enhanced maritime security conditions, leading to reduced revenue losses and increased benefits. These increased benefits will positively contribute to environmental and socio-economic development, as well as increased national, regional and continental stability, and by the same token, make a substantive contribution to global security. In this long-term vision, the African Union Commission is open for a win-win partnership with all its partners. The next step is to develop and implement Africa's Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIM-Strategy), to build more awareness and to sensitize all the stakeholders (including the RECs and Member States) on the cross-cutting maritime challenges. Distinguished participants, Ladies and gentlemen, This concludes my keynote address. GOD bless you all, GOD bless Africa, and I thank you for your kind attention. (Slide: Thank you/2010:Make peace happen)