Madam President,

I thank the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, the President of the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States, the President of the Economic Commission for West African States and the Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission for their interventions.

We welcome the fact that the Secretary-General's latest report on the situation in the Gulf of Guinea noted a decline in incidents of piracy, thanks in particular to the significant commitment of the States in the region. We encourage these states to continue their coordination actions and reaffirm our full support for the implementation of existing initiatives and resolutions. We also welcome the Council's role on this issue, including through its Resolution 2634. At the same time, we also take note of the latest UNOCA report, which documents worrying incidents of piracy and armed robbery.

To consolidate our hard-won gains, I would like to focus on three points:

Firstly, the operationalisation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct remains essential to enhance maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea. The 10th anniversary of the Yaoundé architecture provides the opportunity to review the state of implementation of the Code of Conduct and to undertake an in-depth review. We encourage countries in the region to continue and extend their collaboration, particularly in the areas of justice and information sharing. Regional organisations such as ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission play a key role in maritime security in the region. Their cooperation is key to making progress in this area. The regional offices of the United Nations and the UNODC can also provide support in this respect.

Secondly, in order to tackle the root causes of piracy and maritime crime, the development of a sustainable blue economy is essential. This would reduce the vulnerability of coastal populations. It means offering young people the economic opportunities they deserve, which will reduce the risk of them being drawn into illicit activities. And it means recognising the growing role of women in the fishing industry, as highlighted in the Secretary-General's report. Illegal fishing causes substantial economic losses, with a disproportionate impact on women. Climate change and environmental degradation also affect development and security.

Thirdly, maritime space and trade need clear rules and structures. In this respect, I would like to stress the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. All activities involving the seas and oceans must fall within this legal framework. We therefore encourage all the States in the region to adopt laws criminalising piracy. The maritime economy is at the heart of global value chains, as underlined by Switzerland's first-ever maritime strategy, published a few weeks ago. With its globally oriented economy, Switzerland depends on this maritime trade and these logistics chains, and on shipping complying with international rules. However, all the links in this chain need to be solid in order to guarantee safe, efficient and sustainable maritime logistics. Investment in port infrastructure is also essential.

Madam President,

The States of the Gulf of Guinea bear the primary responsibility for ensuring maritime safety and combating piracy. Accelerated implementation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, in close regional collaboration, is decisive if their efforts are to bear lasting fruit.

I thank you.