To revitalise the African discussion on maritime security the government of Nigeria is organising a Global Maritime Security Conference held in Abuja from the 7th to 9th of October. At the event I will give one of the keynote speeches, discussing different reasons for why there continues to be a lack of attention for the sea, investigating in particular neo-colonial arguments and the exploitative tenets in the blue economy project.
From the 24th to 27th of September I will be attending the training week of UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP), held in Stellenbosch, South Africa. At the event I will deliver two training sessions. The first one looks at Environmental Crime at Sea, and is largely a scoping exercise, asking how we should conceptualise environmental crimes in the context of ocean governance and the anthroprocene. The second session focuses on Maritime Security Governance drawing on the SafeSeas Best Practice Toolkit and the governance model presented there as well as the relevance of maritime security strategy. I will also chair a public roundtable jointly organised with SIGLA. The roundtable is titled “Caught between AIMS-2050 and Lomé: Why do African states still not care about the seas and oceans?”. It features a range of South Africa based maritime security experts and investigates the reasons for the lack of attention in African states for ocean governance and maritime security.
This week the European International Studies Association, the largest European association for international relations research holds its annual meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria.
I am attending the event for three days, mainly in the capacity of the co-chair of the International Practice section, I have been organising together with Alena Drieschova (U Cardiff). I will also be representing the European Journal of International Security at the event.
This week the autumn term starts at the University of Copenhagen. Over the next 14 weeks I will be teaching two courses, both at masters level, with 170 students in total.
The course Concepts and Methods of International Relations is a mandatory post-graduate level survey of the discipline of IR from the perspective of key concepts that have driven the debates. The course starts out from foundational discussion of concepts of knowledge, theory, concept, critique and methods. This creates the basis for investigating a set of influential concepts in the discipline, including structure, modernity, rationality, norms, culture, discourse, practice, space, technology, Anthropocene, and queer. The course concludes with a discussion of what to do with these concepts.
The second course “Knowledge Production and Evaluation” is a core subject in the Security and Risk Management master programme. It is broadly structured around literature from social theory, anthrpology and science and technology studies interested in how knowledge is produced in practice and how it is linked to politics and decision making. The course revisits core frameworks, such as epistemic communities, and actor-network theory and then a share framework for the study of epistemic practices is developed and tested through exercises.
What are the challenges in governing maritime security? How can the capacity gap closed through capacity building projects? What guidelines can make such work more effective? These are the questions that I address in a new short article published in the Seychelles Research Journal. I discuss the key insight developed in our last research project which were published as a best practice tool kit titled “Mastering Maritime Security”.
From the 21st to 27th of July I attended a training course on Civil-Military Approaches for Maritime Security organised by the Institute for Security Governance, in Monterey, CA. The course is part of the US capacity building work on maritime security and taught since 2008. As part of the course I delivered a module on maritime domain awareness, relying on my 2015 article on Maritime Domain Awareness in Southeast Asia as well as the results of the SafeSeas Best Practice Toolkit and the model of maritime security governance it outlines. I also reviewed the core ideas behind Maritime Domain Awareness, and discussed with the participants the core hindrances to information sharing.
On the 12th and 13th of July I attended a workshop in Frankfurt which had the objective to explore the different contributions the recent book by Fritz Kratochwil makes to different social science debate. In Praxis: On Acting and Knowing, published in 2018, Kratochwil presents a new reading of political practices based on a discussion of Aristotle, Hume and Wittgenstein. The book explores different kinds of international practices drawing on a wide set of examples drawing mainly from international law.
Participants explored different aspects of the book and how it is linked to questions of international systems and differentiation, temporality, history and change, and in what ways it offers a new way of theorizing. In my own contribution I investigated what style of theorizing the book offers, pointing to its practice of building associations. I also asked what the methodological consequences of such an understanding of theorizing are.
What are the consequence of a relational understanding of knowledge for how we organize expertise and policy advice? This was the core question of the talk that I gave at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt on the 11th of July. Drawing on Steve Woolgar’s critique of romantic understandings of knowledge transfer, I outlined the theory of epistemic infrastructures and how a focus on epistemic practices and problematic situations provides new directions for scholarly action.
Singapore is host to one of the most successful initiatives for sharing information and developing maritime domain awareness on a regional level. The Information Fusion Centre (known as IFC) operated by the Singaporean navy has become a global template for how to improve the flow of maritime information, conduct solid analysis of activities and trends at sea, but also to react rapidly to any maritime incident across borders and jurisdictions.
On the 14th of May the IFC celebrated its 10th anniversary. At the celebration it also launched the new information sharing platform of the centre. The celebration was part of the annual exercise MARISX.
I had the opportunity to attend the event as an observer. Following my earlier visits to the IFC in 2018 and 2015 (see my article on the IFC here), I could for the first time see the exercise in action. MARISX brought together participants from ASEAN navies and coastguards, and various international partners, including Australia, China, Germany, India, Seychelles, the UK or the US. For three days participants had the opportunity to try out the brand new IFC Real-time Information-sharing System (IRIS) to address real life scenarios, such as illegal fishing, illegal migration or piracy incidents. The participants also discussed how such incidents can be better managed jointly using the platform. A number of national operational centers (OPCENs) from different countries participated remotely in the exercise. Also representatives from the shipping industry, including the Singapore Shipping Association or Intertanko, as well as international organisations such as Interpol and UNODC contributed to the event.Continue reading
The Djibouti Code of Conduct remains one of the major agreements in the Western Indian Ocean to strengthen regional cooperation in maritime security bringing countries from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula together. Initially only focused on piracy, the Code’s focus area was extended through the 2017 Jeddah Amendments to cover all types of maritime crimes. From the 23rd to 25th of April representatives from the signatory states and the Friends of the Djibouti Code of Conduct met in Saudi Arabia to review the current progress and discuss priorities in implementation. At the event I chaired a panel on the nature of maritime crimes, and gave two short presentations.