Security Council Open Debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Piracy, November 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012


On Monday 19 November 2012, the Security Council held an open debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security regarding Piracy. The council had before it an updated SG Report (S/2012/783) on piracy, with particular attention paid to the problem in Somalia and efforts needed to counter such threats. The debate included statements from approximately 42 speakers, including Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General, who presented the SG Report to the council. The Council ultimately adopted a Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2012/24) on the matter.

Gender Analysis

The Council failed to achieve any direct mention of women, girls, Resolution 1325, or any other subsequent women, peace and security resolution during the entire open debate on Piracy. Despite the Council's lack of direct recognition, it must be noted that piracy does directly affect women and girls in manners pertinent to the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. Although the Council failed to link the two, some of the issues thematically surfaced during the debate. For instance, Portugal spoke to the link between piracy and human trafficking, yet failed to expand further with regards to the women, peace and security agenda. Trafficking in persons, whether by land or sea, disproportionately impacts women and girls largely because women and girls are more vulnerable due to gender inequalities affecting their economic, environmental and social status. Failing to recognize this direct link disables any attempt to create counter-piracy efforts.

Another thematic element that surfaced during the debate was around the issue of hostages. Numerous counties including Pakistan, Togo, Germany, and Colombia, spoke of the dire need to address the hostage issue in relation to piracy. However, not one country recognized the intrinsic link between hostages and WPS. To ignore details and advert mention of how hostage situations affect women who are taken as hostages is to ignore WPS Resolutions 1325, 1820, and 1960. Women facing circumstances in armed conflict are vulnerable to sexual violence and to ignore this connection to piracy is to ignore the WPS agenda.

General Analysis

The debate acknowledged that international cooperation had reduced maritime attacks over the previous year but that much needed to be done to ensure the security of countries affected by piracy. Many member states spoke of the reduction in attacks around Somalia while also calling attention to the rise of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea. A general consensus around the debate called for a continuous multilateral approach to safeguard international peace and security efforts affected by piracy and maritime-armed conflict. Additionally, many agreed that piracy threatens the economic livelihood of developing countries and should further be addressed through greater comprehensive international support. In response to the growing threat in the Gulf of Guinea, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson spoke of the need to modernize counter-piracy laws, strengthen capacities for maritime law enforcement and to develop greater regional networks.


Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, European Union, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Thailand, Togo, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Russian Federation, Viet Nam.

Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General