The latest self-enforcing regional commitments aimed at improving maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea were announced last week by the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre Yaoundé (ICC) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Centre (NIMASA). In our first Metis Insights, Dryad Global analyst Casper Goldman explores what this framework means for the region.
In doing so, the GOG-MCF/SHADE could address the poor coordination between stakeholders that has bedevilled previous attempts to improve maritime security across the Gulf of Guinea. However, the GOG-MCF/SHADE is a further entrant into an already crowded maritime security environment in the region.
Myriad regional treaties and frameworks have been launched in previous years. These include the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, which led to the establishment of the ICC; the Lomé Charter, which is legally binding, and includes social economic measures, harmonisation of national legislation, and guaranteed resources to maritime security; and the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, which focuses on interagency collaboration and enhancing synergy between stakeholders.
In addition, via the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure project, also known as the Nigerian Deep Blue Project, Nigeria has invested $195 million in enhanced maritime enforcement and security resources.
The security environment in the Gulf of Guinea is further complicated by the presence of international naval vessels operating as part of the EU Coordinated Maritime Presence (CMP).
The ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy and the GOG-MCF/SHADE have duality of purpose, with the intent of enhanced information sharing and bringing together stakeholders, yet it is uncertain how these frameworks will effectively complement one another going forward.
In the absence of a clearly defined cooperation mechanism, there is a very real concern that the addition of GOG MCF/SHADE risks undermining the incumbent ECOWAS framework. One way in which GOG MCF/SHADE differs from the ECOWAS framework is that it is limited to operational cooperation between international parties, parties with real-time information, and littoral states with resources. In contrast, besides interagency cooperation on the national level, ECOWAS also brings together the wide variety of stakeholders involved (e.g. port authorities, civil society, shipping).
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Press Release | Dryad Global