Review of the EU Strategy for the Gulf of Guinea and its Action Plan
In line with its commitment to improve maritime security, in recent years the EU has been implementing its Strategy on the Gulf of Guinea and its Action Plan. With the Gulf of Guinea Action Plan now at an end, and the implementation of the new programming phase being finalised, it is opportune to consider how the Strategy on the Gulf of Guinea might be taken forward and the Action Plan modified where necessary to the changing circumstances. CRIMSON III has been tasked with carrying out a strategic review of the document and making proposals for its modification as appropriate.
The overall objective of the Strategy on the Gulf of Guinea has been to contribute to the “sustainable development of West and Central African coastal States’ economies by promoting the significance of a well-governed, safe and secure maritime sector”. To achieve this overall objective, four (sub) objectives were identified, along with 14 expected results and 67 actions (see document attached). To give effect to this framework of objectives, results and activities, the EU has implemented several projects and actions (supported largely by DG INTPA), worked on fisheries issues (supported largely by DG MARE), and addressed security matters (supported largely by EU Member States). Collaboration has also taken place with other DGs, notably DG DEFIS, and DG MOVE, along with EU Agencies, notably EMSA and EFCA. Several EU Member States have also been active in supporting the implementation of the strategy, either through their security cooperation or lending support to EU financed projects. Although pre-dating its formal adoption, these interventions have been broadly in line with the EU’s Integrated Approach.
The Gulf of Guinea Action Plan is coming to an end but many of the EU financed projects and activities are in a relatively early stage of their implementation so there is also time to shape thinking in terms of the overall strategy and action plan, including the design of the strategic framework for projects that might be implemented from 2023 onwards.
Furthermore, with respect to the EU Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS), the Council Conclusions on Maritime Security of 22 June 2021 invite the Commission and the High Representative “to continue to actively implement the policy [of the EUMSS] and to initiate an assessment of the need for an update of the EUMSS and its action plan and provide its outcomes as soon as possible at the latest by the end of 2021” (para 5). This strategic review therefore is timed to contribute to this work.
Identification Study for actions in the GoG The Gulf of Guinea has become the global epicentre for piracy and other maritime crimes. There is a critical need to help coastal states improve the security of their maritime domain, not only through bilateral assistance programmes, but also through strengthening multilateral cooperation and frameworks. The EU operates in this domain in different ways and with different means, ranging from capacity building projects to bilateral dialogues, mechanisms for sharing awareness and other forms of multilateral engagement. In line with this, CRIMSON III has been tasked with carrying out an identification study with the overall objective of conducting a gaps and needs analysis in view of potential new EU-funded actions in the Gulf of Guinea in the area of maritime security. The study will Identify opportunities for the EU to step up its engagement in potential areas of action at national and regional level regarding dialogue and exchanges for a more concerted and strategic international cooperation at both policy and operational levels to improve security and safety at sea in the region.
Participation in webinars CRIMSON participated in various webinars throughout the last three months, in order to keep the visibility of the programme alive and maintain the message of complementarity among the different projects under the CMR. The main events attended by CRIMSON were:
- 8 July 2021: 38th Shared Awareness Meeting
- 27 July 2021: Future Proofing Africa against Maritime Security Challenges
- 16 September 2021: Maritime cyber security: preparing for rough seas ahead
- 29 September 2021: Port Security – Threats and Vulnerabilities