FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MSS Conference Keynote Speech by AU Deputy Chairman Dr. Mwencha

MSS Conference Keynote Speech by AU Deputy Chairman Dr. Mwencha


  Dr. Mwencha put out a lot of information in his speech.  I wonder if the AU Chairman would have been invited to this event had it still been Qadaffi...
           Again, it's worth noting that while the discussion during this event fell under Chatham House Rule, the speeches were all open source. 

            This was really less a speech and more a lengthy, oral recitation of a report (printed version of this speech spans 35 pages) entitled: The Geostrategic Importance of Africa’s Maritime Domain: Opportunities and Challenges.  To that end I have only included the more pertinent points.

Threats to Africa’s Maritime Domain: Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated, (IUU) Fishing, Environmental Crimes, Arms and Drug Smuggling, Oil Bunkering, Human Trafficking, Sea Piracy, Natural Disasters, Global Warming and Environmental Degradation, African Population Growth. 
            It is important to note that Dr. Mwencha spent the majority of time addressing the ‘environmental crimes’.  More than any other threat, this was the one about which the participants from the African nations were most passionate throughout the conference.

Opportunities:  Wealth creation (from sustainable governance of
Africa’s Maritime Domain in fisheries, minerals etc), Security-socio-economic-development nexus (Concrete growth opportunities for Africa), and Energy (tidal stream turbines, wave, river, hydrokinetic, ocean current)

Challenges:  National (inadequate integration of land based and maritime actors), Regional (deconfliction and synchronization for efficiency), AU (creation of continental Chief of Navies/Coast Guards working group)

AU Initiatives:  Leverage the indispensable political will, Build awareness and sensitization, Promote cross-sector cooperation, Develop Africa’s Integrated Maritime (AIM) strategy, and Mobilize Resources

Way Forward:
- Heighten momentum of AU Commission in International Maritime Safety and Security
- Annual AU Maritime Safety and Security Conference
- Set up maritime-centric working groups
- Develop AIM
- Fine tune our Key Performance Areas (with articulate lines of action)
- Create SWOT teams to conduct gap analysis on lines of action
- Implement our Maritime Transport Charter

And he ended his speech with the following quote from Kofi Annan:
“There is no lack of resources, no deficiency of knowledge and no shortage of plans.
Africa's progress rests above all else on the mobilization of political will, both on the
Continent and internationally.”        

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