EU NAVFOR promotes UN FAO programme working in support of Somali fishermenOctober 18, 2018 - 10:19
EU NAVFOR has just completed an important focused operation along the north-eastern coast of Somalia, interacting with local authorities in Puntland’s former piracy hotspots of Hurdiyo and Eyl. Between 12-16 October 2018, ships and aircraft from Spain, Italy and Germany joined staff from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) embarked on board the EU NAVFOR flagship ESPS Castilla, in a concentrated, multi-agency effort to deliver positive change to this troubled region. In addition, personnel from the civilian organization EUCAP-Somalia were embarked on board the warship in order to deepen the capacity-building mission’s relationship with local security actors.
EU NAVFOR supported the implementation of a UNFAO project aimed to enhance the capacities of fishing communities in Puntland, Galmudug and Mogadishu. The EU-funded but FAO-implemented Coastal Communities Against Piracy (CCAP) project aims to provide training and support to artisanal fishermen along the coast of Somalia. The CCAP project is itself part of the EU Maritime Security Programme (MASE). During the course of the operation, EU NAVFOR assets facilitated access to villages along the Puntland coast and supported the training to local fishermen provided by UNFAO experts.
Michael Savins, Head of the FAO-Somalia unit “Fish Consumption and Fleet Renewal” has been closely involved in the project designed to improve artisanal fishing capabilities. When asked about the operation, he said; “Working with EU NAVFOR to deliver this project to Somali communities has proven a great success and is the culmination of four years’ work. I’d like to thank the commitment and professionalism of our hosts on board ESPS Castilla, especially with such a challenging task”. He added, “we have learned so much from the communities we visited and I am delighted they engaged with us in such a positive manner”.
Whilst ashore in Hurdiyo and Eyl, the Force Commander of EU NAVFOR, Spanish Rear Admiral Alfonso Perez De Nanclares, met local authorities to exchange views on the security situation at sea and ashore. He said, “Puntland is blessed with a long coastline; providing maritime security is essential to fully exploit the economic potential this offers. The authorities I met agreed that piracy and maritime criminal activities undermine this potential and that the best way to prevent this is to bring jobs to coastal communities”. He added “On this occasion, to take other international organisations like the UNFAO and EUCAP Somalia ashore with us showed that we can not only deliver the aims of our mission, but we can also better understand the needs of the communities ashore”.
The CCAP is just one of the many projects that the EU is supporting to promote lasting solutions in the region. The EU has provided strong support in the maritime domain through security, capacity-building and through various economic development programmes. The mandate of EU NAVFOR was recently extended until December 2020. The operation will continue to deter, disrupt and repress piracy off the coast of Somalia, thus contributing to the free flow of commerce in sea lanes responsible for some €800 Bn annual trade to and from Europe.
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