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NEWS | Feb. 13, 2024

U.S. Navy leaders visit Madagascar for Women, Peace and Security, bilateral engagements

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

Juliet Beyler, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF)’s Executive Director, visited Antananarivo, Madagascar for a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) event organized and hosted by NAVAF and the U.S. Embassy, as well as engagements with U.S. and Malagasy officials, Feb. 12-13, 2024.

During the WPS engagement, Beyler and representatives from Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, and Uganda discussed operationalizing Regional and National Action Plans on Women, Peace, and Security within their individual navies and coast guards. The discussion also included evaluation and assessment of WPS programs to mitigate operational blind spots during maritime security operations by using a gender perspective.

“I thank the government of Madagascar and our U.S. Embassy here in Antananarivo for hosting such a professional and impactful Women, Peace and Security engagement,” said Beyler. “The WPS program is such an important initiative because, by building partnerships and advancing women’s meaningful participation across our defense and security sectors, we enhance our individual and collective capacities. We’re thrilled to be a part of this program alongside our African partners.”

This is the first U.S. Navy WPS engagement on the continent in 2024, and sets the stage for the rest of the year. NAVAF and partners are coordinating three additional WPS engagements focused on Maritime Security to be hosted in West and North Africa, as well as the first African Maritime Gender Network to be hosted in Sierra Leone. The substantial efforts of African partners and the NAVAF WPS program continue to enhance awareness of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Women, Peace, and Security program worldwide.

“Our partners continue to step up and lead the way in learning about and implementing tenets of WPS into their governments and militaries,” said Carrie Compton, NAVEUR-NAVAF’s Gender Advisor and WPS lead. “The engagement here in Antananarivo continues the great work we accomplished in 2023 and we look forward to continuing to raise the bar on this initiative, bringing in more partners and more voices.”

While in Madagascar, Beyler also met with U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar and the Comoros Claire Pierangelo; the directors of the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Center and National Maritime Information Fusion Center; Chief of Staff of the Malagasy Navy Rear Admiral Gabriel Tsiriniaina; the Minister of Transportation; Minister of Fisheries and Blue Economy Paubert T. Mahatante; and the commander of the Diego Suarez (Antsiranana) Naval Base.

Her visit comes roughly two weeks after another visiting delegation from NAVEUR-NAVAF and U.S. Sixth Fleet. Rear Adm. Calvin Foster, U.S. Sixth Fleet’s vice commander and Director, Maritime Partnership Program, conducted a series of bilateral engagements with Ambassador Pierangelo, Rear Admiral Tsiriniaina and Minister Mahatante in Antananarivo.

During his visit, Foster emphasized the importance of continued international cooperation at national, regional, and continent-wide levels to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. He also thanked the Malagasy people for their continued bilateral and multilateral engagement with the U.S. and other regional Allies and partners, as well as Madagascar’s vital participation in multinational exercises and engagements such as exercise Cutlass Express and the African Maritime Forces Summit (AMFS).

Both visits from senior leaders at NAVEUR-NAVAF and U.S. Sixth Fleet demonstrate the strong and enduring maritime relationships between the U.S. and Madagascar and underscore the importance of collaboration in the maritime domain.

“It is an honor to meet with our Malagasy counterparts and discuss the strong relationship our navies and governments share,” said Foster. “Regional threats like illegal trafficking and IUU fishing require collaborative solutions, and Madagascar and the United States stand shoulder-to-shoulder in addressing challenges like these.”

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the USEUCOM and USAFRICOM areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.