From the 9th to the 11th of November we held our first SAFESEAS workshop at the University of Stellenbosch. With participants from Djibouti, Kenya, Pakistan, Seychelles, South Africa and the UK we discussed our first results of our research on maritime security governance and maritime capacity building. The workshop revealed the power of comparison and we discussed how different countries develop responses to the challenges of maritime security, such as its cross-jurisdictional and institutionally complex character. Countries organise their maritime security sector quite differently and also deal with external assistance in various fashions. The results will be published in an edited volume forthcoming in 2018. Initial results and drafts are available on the project website.
On November the 1st I am giving a presentation at a symposium of the Indian Navy. Hosted by the Indian Navy Naval War College in Goa the two-day event is focussed on “Addressing Regional Maritime Challenges” and brings together over one hundred representatives from Indian and Indian Ocean navies. Held for the first time, the Goa Maritime Enclave intends to strengthen collaboration and joint learning across the Indian Ocean. As such it is a further addition to other formats such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium or the Sri Lanka Navy’s Galle Dialogue strengthening the maritime ties in the region.
My talk draws on my recent research on maritime domain awareness and capacity building. I firstly contextualize maritime domain awareness historically, arguing that we have witnessed a series of revolutions in “knowing the sea”, starting out from the British Empires approach to turn the oceans into governable and knowable zones, the rise of attempts to track and monitor maritime traffic for search and rescue as well as environmental management purposes, up to the current day big data revolution in which advanced surveillance technology and anomaly detection is geared at supporting maritime security operations. Zooming in on the Western Indian Ocean I then investigate the claim that maritime domain awareness by virtue strengthens cooperation. I argue that on the one side, the competition between architectures points to a strong geo-political motive in building maritime domain awareness, on the other side we can observe the rise of communities of practice with the objective of working together. I conclude by arguing that advancing shared maritime domain awareness will imply to provide some order to the current complexity of architectures, to re-politicize these projects, to work towards more trust and confidence to enable sharing of information (between agencies and countries), as well as to avoid living in technological fantasies and rely on pragmatic low tech work instead. The slides of the talk are available as pdf here.
From the 25th to 26th of September I am attending the 3rd International Symposium on fisheries crime, als known as FishCrime. The symposium is an annual event for the community of practitioners addressing fishery crimes and Illegal, Unregulated and Underreported (IUU) fishing. The third installment of the event is held at the headquarters of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna. I am attending the symposium as an observer, to meet professionals in the field, and to learn more about the problematization of fish and its career on the international policy agenda. Further information on the event is available here.
From the 11th to 16th of September I was attending the annual conference of the European International Studies Association held in Barcelona. The primary focus of my activities this year was current research in international practice theory. I co-convened a section with ten panels on the topic together with Dr. Alena Drieschova. Three of those panels presented first drafts of the chapters of the edited volume Conceptualizing International Practices we are working on since a year. I also acted as one of the senior discussants of a one-day Young Researcher Workshop on methodology and presented some of my recent work on ocean governance and the contemporary maritime security agenda.
From the 7th to the 9th of September I was visiting the University of Toronto’s Political Science Department. My visit was primarily to attend the oral examination of a splendid PhD thesis on normative transformations written by Simon Pratt. As external examiner, I had the pleasure to read and comment on a thesis that succeeds in offering an alternative framework to study the change of normative structures by drawing on pragmatist assumptions and empirical material from US security policy. I also gave a talk in the department’s seminar series titled “The deformalization of global politics: Insights from a praxiography of counter-piracy governance”. In the talk, I summarized some of my core findings on counter-piracy governance in the light of the debate on informal governance.
The 20th plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) is expected to become a milestone in the re-organisation of the response to piracy. The meeting takes place in Mauritius in the first week of July. I will attend the meeting in my capacity as an advisor to the chairmen, the government of Seychelles, and as in the last years will report on lessonsfrompiracy.net on the event. Check it out if you want to follow the event.
On the 27th of June I will be giving a lecture at the University of Capetown’s Faculty of Law. In the talk I will introduce some of the core insights on global security governance that can be developed from the fight against piracy. The talk is titled “The fight against Somali piracy is over, isn’t it? Insights from a Laboratory of Global Security Governance”. Please find the abstract below. Continue reading
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.