UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme promotes maritime security in Mozambique

Since 2019, UNODC has been working, in collaboration with regional and international partners and in cooperation with the Government of Mozambique, to provide assistance to law enforcement stakeholders and other national institutions. The Mozambique Channel is one of the primary passageways for the movement of illicit goods in the region. Against this backdrop, the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme offers technical assistance to support Mozambique’s efforts to build its maritime security capacity. The Mozambique’s Navy, National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) as well as the Maritime Authority (INAMAR), the Anti- Narcotics Agency (GCCPD) and the various ports have benefited from specialized trainings related to port security, maritime domain awareness and maritime law enforcement.


For four years, Cabo Delgado, Northern province of Mozambique, is the epicenter of an insurgency that has victimized thousands of people. The so called “triangle of insurgency” in Northern Mozambique has a maritime and a fluvial environment, with armed groups benefiting from freedom of movement at sea and on the Ruvuma River to conduct their operations. The northern coastal region also matches Mozambique’s critical infrastructure sites, as it holds the continent’s largest natural gas deposits. Maritime terrorism, therefore, figures now as a pressing issue challenging stability not only in Mozambique but in the Southern African region and particularly neighboring countries such as Tanzania.


UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme established presence on the ground with the deployment of Mr. Daniel Vasconcelos,  Programme Officer to Maputo, in May 2021. The Office also agreed on the “Maputo Roadmap of UNODC engagement in Mozambique” with the Government of Mozambique, to guide UNODC’s assistance on four inter-linked areas, including combatting transnational organized crime, drug prevention, preventing terrorism and violent extremism, and improving justice systems and integrity in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice to promote the rule of law.


“A multidimensional approach is necessary to build maritime capacities in Mozambique” explains Vasconcelos. “Coastal and island communities are currently highly vulnerable. Oil & gas facilities, such off shore ships and industry bases can become targets of piracy and armed groups interventions. This way, a protection force must guarantee security for civilians and the private sector through solid presence at sea and patrolling. Interdiction actions are directed to tackling maritime terrorism. This entails trained personnel and proper materials and infrastructure to combat highly dangerous and bellicose groups.”


Mozambique’s challenges require a blend of civilian and military as well as regional and local responses. In the last six months, UNODC provided trainings for more than 130 officers on different topics including from maritime law, maritime law enforcement, maritime domain awareness as well as port security. In addition, over the last years, UNODC facilitated the establishment of a Trilateral Planning Cell, a cooperation between the governments of Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa to share strategic information and analysis on tackling drug traffic and maritime terrorism, that will benefit the entire region.


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