By Godwin Oritse
Nigeria and five African countries, yesterday, agreed to adopt the Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC) with a view to sustaining the low level of pirate attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Guinea, GoG.
The other countries are Ghana, Angola, Cameroon, Benin Republic, and Cote D’ Voire.
The adoption was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two day meeting of the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) hosted by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
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The countries also agreed that relevant regional agencies must institutionalize a framework for regular dialogues that guarantee collaborative decision making and follow-ups from a response perspective so as to ensure that every part of the region is properly monitored and secured.
Part of the Communique reads: “We welcome the adoption of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC) and related declarations and protocols to guide the collective responses of states in the Gulf of Guinea area to address threats to safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea;
“We take note of the multiple efforts towards the implementation of the emerging Yaoundé architecture but observe that more could be done to enhance the ideals of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct;
“Accordingly, we make the following recommendations towards a more coordinated implementation of the provisions in the YCC and related agreements:
“That relevant regional agencies must institutionalize a framework for regular dialogues that guarantee collaborative decision making and follow-ups from a response perspective;
“That the International Chamber of Commerce, (ICC) must endeavour to identify and include more relevant maritime safety and security actors and involve them in response initiatives;
“That the YCC, as it stands now, is a code of practice without any binding provisions. This affects the way it is implemented at the regional and national levels. The meeting, therefore, calls for expedited action towards the transformation of the YCC into a binding Convention taking on board, the peculiar contexts of diverse jurisprudence, linguistic traditions and the inter-regional coverage of the code as well as the differing procedures of the three (3) sponsors of the ICC (i.e. ECOWAS, Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS and the GGC);
“Coordination of action at all levels is critical for impact on the ground. Such coordination efforts must begin with states demonstrating willingness to cede portions of their sovereignty and invest in the realizations of the provisions of the YCC;
“That state and multilateral actors, who lead in the implementation of safety and security measures in the Gulf of Guinea, must identify and implement relevant confidence-building measures to reinforce the principles of coordination and in the implementation of the YCC.”
By Godwin Oritse