September 7, 2010 | Journal of International Peace Operations

Beyond the Water’s Edge: Learning from the Somali Piracy Challenge

While military force combined with greater vigilance on the part of the commercial shipping and fishing industries can reduce the threat posed by pirates, achieving maritime security requires a landward component. In the Somali context, this implies embracing a “bottom-up” rather than the hitherto “top-down” approach, the key being to engage local authorities by holding out the prospect of economic development, giving their constituents a stake in building up security along the littoral. The example of the as-yet unrecognized Republic of Somaliland, which has evolved into one of the most democratic polities in the Horn of Africa, and where, to boot, an extremely modest coast guard has kept the region's 740-kilometer coast largely free of pirates is proof of this.

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