Christian Bueger


Workshop on Maritime Crime in Stellenbosch

In May I attended the workshop “Combating Transnational Maritime Threats off Africa – through Collaborative Efforts in Policy Making, Law Enforcement, and Capacity Building”. The workshop was a joint initiative by the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership (SIGLA), Stellenbosch University, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) International Counterproliferation Program (ICP) and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in cooperation with the US Embassy, South Africa.

The three-day workshop aimed at investigating the links between different maritime crimes and how these can be addressed through joint transnational responses. Representatives from South Africa, the US as well as a broad range of Eastern and West African countries participated in the event. In my talk I drew on the initial results of my BA funded research project SAFE SEAS and highlighted the importance of identifying synergies between development, security and environmental capacity building projects. I also argued that more efforts need to be made to ensure that coastal communities benefit from capacity building and are recognized as important actors in ensuring maritime security.


Maritime Crime Workshop in Copenhagen

I am attending a workshop titled “Maritime Crime beyond Piracy: Trends, Challenges and Interconnections” organized by the Centre for Military Studies of the University of Copenhagen. The goal of the workshop is to explore the relation between piracy and other maritime insecurities and how synergies between different areas of maritime security provision can be better developed. As part of the workshop, I am giving a talk that reflects on the recent resurgence of piracy off the coast of Somalia and how counter-piracy work, in particular, capacity building, can be better integrated into a broader maritime security architecture for the Western Indian Ocean region


Symposium on Practice Theory, Relationalism and Constructivism published

In a Symposium of International Studies Quarterly Online we discuss in what way constructivist International Relations theorizing is advanced or challenged by the rise of international practice theories and relationalism. The starting point is a theory note by David McCourt, who argued that practice theories and relationalism are the new IR constructivisms. In my response to that claim, I argue that practice theories have their own conceptual and methodological approaches and it hence doesn’t make any sense to subsume them under constructivism. Other contributors include Ted Hopf, Oliver Kessler, Stacie Goddard, Alex Montgomery, Cecelia Lynch, Ty Solomon and Swati Srivastava.


Visiting Project Partners in the Western Indian Ocean

In March I am visiting the project partners of SAFE SEAS in Eastern and Southern Africa. The goal is not only to deepen collaborations but to develop ideas in which directions to further advance the project.  During my stay in the Seychelles, I have also held a strategy meeting with the current secretariat of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia in order to prepare the next plenary meeting. In addition, I gave a talk in the forum title “Think big, but small is beautiful. Small Island Diplomacy”, organized by the Sir James Mancham International Center for Peace Studies and Diplomacy of the University of the Seychelles. In the talk titled “Creole Foreign Policy: The Seychelles and small state diplomacy” I investigated core insights from the small state literature, discussed the particular strengths of Seychelles and laid out three ideas of how the country can continue its success story. Other speakers were ambassador Barry Faure, and representatives from the Blue Economy Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The centre will publish a report on the forum in due course.


New Comment on the Return of Piracy

In a new op-ed published by The Conversation written with Robert McCabe, we discuss whether the recent hijacking of the ARIS 13 off the coast of Somalia implies a return of piracy. We argue that the incident should be understood as a warning signal and should remind us about the importance of taking the grievances of coastal communities seriously. It is available here. 


People first: Pakistan’s approach to Maritime Domain Awareness

Much of recent debate concerns how maritime domain awareness (MDA) and information sharing can be effectively organized, in particular under resource constraints. Surveillance technology and tools for data fusion and algorithmic analysis are expensive. The tools developed by MDA centers in the US, UK or in Singapore are hardly options for lower income countries and regions. Yet, what are the alternatives? An answer comes from Pakistan.
In 2013 Pakistan has inaugurated its Joint Maritime Information Coordination Center (JMICC). Situated in Karachi and operated by the Pakistani Navy the center has developed an innovative approach to MDA which provides useful lessons for other countries and regional centers. Three core principles underly the work JMICC: inclusivity, community engagement, and responsiveness. During a visit to the center on the 15th of February, I had the opportunity to learn more about how the center works and puts these principles into practice. Each of the principles is discussed in the following. Continue reading


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International Maritime Conference in Karachi

Pakistan’s most important conference on maritime security is organized by the National Centre for Maritime Policy Research (NCMPR), the think tank of the country’s navy based at Bahria University. This year’s installment of the event is under the theme “Strategic Outlook in the Indian Ocean Region 2030 and Beyond: Evolving Challenges and Strategies”. The conference is held in conjunction with the naval exercise Aman, in which over 70 countries participate.

At the four-day conference (10-14.2), I gave a presentation titled “Pakistan and the Western Indian Ocean Community”. Drawing on the results of our recent analysis of the region, in the paper, I review the current strategic environment in the Western Indian Ocean, argue that the region can find a shared strategic vision in the concept of security community, and outline consequences for Pakistani’s foreign and security policy. I particularly highlight the need for sustained multilateral engagement in fora such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, the Indian Ocean Maritime Crime Forum, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, or the Djibouti Code of Conduct process. The paper is available here.


SAFE SEAS recruits research associate

For my new research project SAFE SEAS funded by the British Academy and run together with Tim Edmunds from the University of Bristol we are currently looking for a research associate to support the project. We will also be recruiting research assistants based in Kenya, Seychelles, Djibouti and Somalia soon. The job add is as follows

Research Associate (5611BR)
School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University
The School of Law and Politics invites applications for a one year postdoctoral position (Research Associate). The position is in the frame of the project “Safe Seas. A study of Maritime Security Capacity Building in the Western Indian Ocean” funded by a British Academy Sustainable Development grant. Safe Seas is a pilot project and compares the ongoing efforts to restructure the maritime security sector in four countries (Djibouti, Kenya, Seychelles, and Somalia). The aim of Safe Seas is to develop key guidelines and best practices for the programming and implementation of maritime security capacity building and maritime security sector reform. The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr. Christian Bueger and will undertake research and administrative work that supports the goals of the project. Further information on the project is available at www.safeseas.net. Further details about the post can be found at http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jobs (Reference 5611BR).
This is a full time post, fixed term for 12 months, and is expected to end 31 March 2018.
Closing date for Application: Monday, 27 February 2017. Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received. Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity. Our inclusive environment welcomes applications from talented people from diverse backgrounds.


SAFE SEAS project website launched

 The website of my new research project SAFE SEAS. A study of maritime security capacity building in the Western Indian Ocean is now online at www.safeseas.net. The project is funded by the British Academy’s Sustainable Development Programme. In a project team of seven staff members we will develop 1) experienced based case studies on success and failure of capacity building for maritime security in the region (Djibouti, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia), 2) a methodology for the assessment of maritime security sectors, and 3)A best practice tool kit for the planning, programming and implementation of capacity building projects. The website provides regular updates on research results.