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
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.
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.
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.
From the 20th to 25th I will be attending the annual convention of the International Studies Association, Baltimore, US. The program kicks off with our next workshop of the Conceptualizing International Practices project. Over the next days I am scheduled to present or attend the following panels and events: Continue reading
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
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.
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.
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.
With the start of the new year, I have joined the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime Expert Network.
The Global Intiative provides a platform for greater debate and to identify innovative approaches that could form the building blocks of an inclusive global strategy against organized crime. It was born from a series of high-level, off the record discussions between law enforcement officials from both developed and developing countries in 2011-12. At these meetings, the founders of the Global Initiative, many of whom stand at the front line of the fight against organized crime, illicit trafficking and trade, concluded that the problem and its impacts are not well analyzed; they are not systematically integrated into national plans or strategies; existing multilateral tools are not structured to facilitate a response; and existing forms of cooperation tend to be bilateral, slow and restricted to a limited number of like-minded states.