In the second week of June we had the pleasure to host the European Workshops of International Studies (EWIS) in Cardiff. EWIS is the second largest conference format of the European International Studies Association composed of dedicated workshops. 320 participants came for 25 workshops that covered themes from international security, global development, global health, to the politics of representation in museums. Continue reading
On the 30th of May I am giving a lecture as the keynote of the International Conference on Maritime Security hosted by the Lusiada Research Centre for International Policy and Security, Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa. In the lecture titled “Situating Maritime Security” I discuss how the maritime security is related to the broader policy debates on ocean governance as well as international security. Drawing on earlier work on the concept of maritime security and the lessons from piracy, I argue that in particular the global maritime domain awareness structures and international capacity building efforts require further scrutiny.
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.
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
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.
From the 12th to the 13th of December BIMCO is holding its first Maritime Security Seminar in its headquarters in Denmark. The three main sessions of the event focus on 1) piracy, 2) other maritime crime, and 3) maritime terrorism. Over 70 participants represent mainly shipping companies and other industry bodies. The event intends to rethink the importance of the maritime security agenda for the shipping industry. At the event I am giving a presentation that reflects on maritime terrorism and how it is linked to the situation of coastal populations.
How will the Lome Charter that is going to be adopted at the African Union’s extraordinary summit in October this year will change ocean governance on the continent? This is the core question that we will be exploring at an event in Addis Ababa organized by the Institute for Security Studies. The event titled “From awareness to action: Africa’s blue economy after Lomé” takes place on September 29th. Please see further information here. In my talk, I will emphasize the need of thinking the blue economy, ocean health, and maritime security agendas together and focussing on those activities that can benefit each agenda. Drawing on my current work on the relation between these agendas, I will argue that maritime domain awareness and information sharing, joint law enforcement operations, and education should be priority areas for the next years. In these areas, significant synergies between all three agendas can be achieved. Knowing what happens at sea and ensuring the flow of information between all actors relevant is the necessary background for designing policies and projects to better protect the seas and develop them. Given the vastness of the sea and the resource limitations actors will have to learn how to work together in policing the sea. Education is pivotal for increasing the awareness of the vital importance of the sea for the future of the continent and training the practitioners which will be able to implement the agendas.
From June 5th to the 9th I will participate in the International Policy Summer Institute (IPSI) of the Bridging the Gap Project. Held in Washington the program intends to explore ways of how to better connect research and policy in the field of international affairs.
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia – the global governance body which I have been studying closely in my ESRC funded Counter-Piracy Governance project – is soon to hold its next plenary meeting. Organized by the current chairmen, the Government of Seychelles, the four day meeting will be held in the Seychelles from the 29th to the 3rd of June. I will be participating as an observer, but also give two presentations during the meeting. In the first presentation I will provide an update of the lessons learned work I have been doing for the group, and in the second discuss the future of the group on the basis of a recent paper. I will report on the event on the website of the group which is available here.
How do we know the sea? This question is not only important for enhancing the public understanding of the sea, it is vital for how we govern the littorals, Exclusive Economic Zones and the global oceans. In an ideaslab, held on the 20th of May in conjunction with the EU’s European Maritime Day we will discuss Maritime Domain Awareness as one attempt to understand the sea.
Ever since humans have started to harvest ocean resources and sailed on the sea, knowledge of the sea has been vital to do so. Advancements in science and technology have been vital to establish new ways of governing oceans. A case in point is the British Empire, which has long served as the steward of the global oceans. As Michael Reid has shown, the British Empire was dependent on and only possible by advancements in ocean science which allowed for efficient navigation. “The British Admirality, maritime community, and scientific elite collaborated to bring order to the world’s seas”.
Today, the order of the sea looks very different. On the one hand, since the late 1980s, the establishment of UNCLOS and related regimes have done much to embed commonly agreed norms and practices of political order at sea, whether in relation to maritime stewardship or the free passage of commerce and the demarcation of territorial waters and other maritime zones. On the other hand, the degradation of ocean health, rising inter-state tensions in areas such as the Arctic or South China Sea, and the emergence of new maritime insecurities, such as piracy, people smuggling or fishery crimes, present significant challenges. For many this leads to the conclusion, that we are facing a “new anarchy” at sea. Whether one shares the optimistic or pessimistic viewpoint, the is little doubt that pursuing the goals as they are expressed in the agendas of ‘ocean health’, ‘blue economy’ or ‘maritime security’ will require better ocean governance. Given the close link between knowledge and governance, this implies to pay close attention of how science, technology and knowledge production of the sea can be advanced. Continue reading