In the wake of the 2nd Steering Committee of the Port Security Programme (PSP) convening on the 24th and 25th of May 2023, an exciting and forward-thinking concept emerged – national consultation workshops. These workshops were proposed to ignite closer collaboration between national agencies, providing a platform to assess progress and confront challenges in the implementation of vital maritime security activities. The PSP, funded by the European Union and masterminded by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), has set its sights on fortifying maritime security and navigation safety throughout the East Africa, Southern Africa, and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region.
In a significant step towards this goal, three impactful national consultation workshops took place in Seychelles, Mozambique, and Mauritius during the month June-July 2023.
Strategic Objectives and Result Areas
The workshops were not just another meeting but a pivotal platform where key stakeholders came together to discuss and align with the PSP’s strategic objectives. These objectives were carefully crafted to reinforce maritime security in the region, focusing on three primary Result Areas:
- Strengthening capacities of safety of navigation authorities in the EA-SA-IO region.
- Development of port security legislation and the related compliance framework.
- Establishment of a regional information sharing mechanism and data exchange system concerning cargo and passengers.
- The Significance of National Ownership of the programme
What made these workshops unique were its emphasis on national ownership. It was not about outsiders dictating; instead, it was about empowering nations in the region to take charge of their maritime security. The event provided an opportunity for relevant stakeholders to understand the progress and challenges in implementing PSP activities.
Key Participants and Collaborative Commitment
Representatives from various crucial agencies participated in these workshops. These included the Law enforcement Agencies, Coast Guard, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions , Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Blue Economy, Ports Authority, Marine Authority National Coast Guard among others. The workshops, as an enabler, facilitated constructive dialogues and joint planning, further strengthening the commitment of these agencies to ensure a safer maritime environment through enhanced security measures.
Looking ahead, there’s more to come. Future workshops are scheduled for in Comoros, Comoros, Angola and Kenya. These upcoming gatherings are poised to further strengthen collaboration among multi-agency stakeholders, adding to the region’s maritime security capabilities.
A Collective Vision for Maritime Security
The combined outcomes of these workshops will play a pivotal role in advancing the PSP’s objectives, ultimately contributing to the successful implementation of activities and enhancing maritime security in the EA-SA-IO region. Through the collaborative efforts of national agencies and regional workshops, a safer and more secure Indian Ocean region is within reach, fostering not just security but a brighter future for all nations involved.