Christian Bueger


New maritime security strategy of UK released

Last year the UK government started a process to refresh its maritime security strategy. In what was an extensive process of consultations with governmental entities, but also academia, industry and civil society, as part of SafeSeas activities, we had a strong role in the process. This concerned in particular expertise on coordination, blue crimes, but also emerging issues, such as environmental security at sea, climate change and the importance of critical maritime infrastructures.

We wrote an article on the strategy work, held a number of meetings with the drafting team, and a larger expert workshop on the implementation of the strategy (documented here). Overall this presented a focused and impactful academic intervention and highlights how academics can bring reflexivity and a forward-looking attitude to a political process.


Work with ministry of foreign affairs of Seychelles

In spring this year the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia – a multilateral grouping I have been studying over the last decade – has changed its mandate and name. This week I met with representatives from Seychelles and the Indian Ocean Commission who are part of the strategy group of the Contact Group to discuss the future set up.

Together we worked on the draft of the final report of the strategy group and next steps. I had also the opportunity to visit the Regional Coordination Operations Centre in Seychelles and to learn about their upcoming activities.


Ecocide Memorials?

While travelling one encounters quite some memorials; they commemorate battles, heroes, accidents or disasters. During my visit to Eastern Africa, I had recently the opportunity to visit the Genocide memorial in Kigali commemorating the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and the memorial of the 2013 Westgate shopping attack in Nairobi’s Karura Forrest. These are memorials of human catastrophes and sites of contemplating how to prevent similar events..

Yet, in the age of the anthropocene, also animals face horrendous catastrophes and entire species are dying out. How shall we commemorate them?

A recent visit to the Ol Pejeta conservancy brought me to an interesting site. The park has as one of its many attractions a rhino cemetery. The majority of rhinos buried at the site, fell victim to poachers. They were hunted down for their horns. It sends a powerful reminder of the tragic consequences of the poaching crisis.

But perhaps most important is another grave. The resting ground of Sudan, the last male of his species, the Southern White Rhino. It is the first ecocide memorial, I have been present at so far.


The 7 challenges of subsea cable security – Summary of our recent event

In June we held an expert workshop on subsea data cables and their security. The workshop summary is now published. Our key argument is that the new awareness and the growing expansion of the network implies a new era for cable security.

We discuss seven key challenges of the new era. This includes how to deal with the growing number of actors involved, how to use existing capabilities efficiently, develop new ones, but also how to handle the data from cable sensors.


Visit to Kigali

Over the last week I was visiting Kigali, the capital of Ruanda. As a first time visitor I was impressed by the beauty and tranquility of the city spread across several hills and valleys. Kigali is a rapidly modernizing city, with lots of interesting coffee roasteries, restaurants and bars. Contrary to Nairobi, life is calmer, and traffic manageable, and if you are ok with hills, it is a great and safe city to walk.

In Kigali, I was participating in the sidelines of the first African Protected Areas Congress (known as #APAC2020) organized by the International Union for Conservation and Nature in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and the African Wildlife Foundation. An estimated 2700 delegates participated in a week long discussion of how conservation efforts can be enhanced and what roles nature parks play in it.

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Contacting me for research interviews

I recently received quite a lot of requests from researchers around the world for expert interviews on quite a diverse range of topics. Since I am always happy to support researchers across all career stages, I wanted to offer some guidance when and how it is useful for you to contact me, and when and how I am able to assist you in your request.

First of all keep in mind that every request takes some time out of my schedule. An interview itself takes at least two hours (that includes to agree on times, me thinking about your questions, and then the discussion in itself). It also takes time out of your research and writing schedule, so both of us have to be sure that it is productive.

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New theme page on subsea data cables

Over the past three years, I have become quite passionate in understanding how the global subsea data cable network works, and what security and governance challenges it raises. In close collaboration with Tobias Liebetrau, we’ve been exploring the network as the case of a critical infrastructure, that is a socio-material entanglement. A new theme page on the SafeSeas website documents that work which has involved a range of partners.

The subsea cable network is also one of our case studies in the new Ocean Infrastructures Research Group. This will provide the opportunity to conduct further and more in-depth research on the network from a theorizing angle.


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At UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon

This week I am attending the UN Ocean Conference. These type of conferences are increasingly important in ocean governance, and it will be an exciting opportunity to learn more about how such events unfold, and if and how they have an impact on global ocean governance.
As part of the conference we are also hosting together with the Atlantic Center of the Portuguese Ministry of Defense and the Institute for Security Studies (Pretoria) an expert workshop on subsea data cable protection. The workshop is part of our DACANE project and will reflect on the insights gained in our recent study on data cables for the European Parliament.

We are also co-hosting a public panel, which is part of the UN Ocean Conference Programme. In the public event we will explore the relation between marine infrastructure protection and marine conservation. The panel is opened by the Portuguese Secretary of State for Defence, Marco Capitão Ferreira, as well as Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. It is chaired by Martin Koehring, Head, World Ocean Initiative, Economist Impact and features Steve Dawe, Chairman European Subsea Cable Association, Kaitlin Meredith, UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme, Philippe Dumont, CEO EllaLink, Leendert Bal, Head of Safety, Security and Surveillance Department, European Maritime Safety Agency and myself.


Workshop on Anthropology and Interventions

On June 20 and 21st I attended a workshop at the European University Institute. The event explored the intersection between knowledge production, intervention and the relations between the local and global.

In my contribution to the workshop I argued that to often we presume that knowledge and knowledge production is seen as preceding action. Instead we have to understand them as an integral part of a practice. Drawing on insights from a text titled “theorizing capacity building co-authored with Simone Tholens, I emphasized the need for going beyond epistemic determinism, that is the assumption that the practices of intervenors is informed by pre-established knowledge. This is not to argue that such pre-knowledge does not matter, but it is to suggest that we should not overestimate its importance. Often knowledge is made up on the spot in a concrete intervention locale, and often it is experimental. I drew on a range of examples from maritime security to illustrate the argument.


Workshop on international objects

The idea that international relations research is more productive if it starts out from objects, rather than subjects and their intentions, is increasingly gaining a foothold in the discipline. On June 16th and 17th the Global Governance Centre of the Graduate Institute hosted a workshop in Geneva that assembled some of the key advocates of the turn to objectual international relations. The discussion concerned in particular the relationship between expertise and object and for instance the question in what way epistemic practices are required for objects of global governance to emerge.

At the workshop I presented some ideas on the relationship between epistemic infrastructures and global governance objects. I argued that such infrastructures are vital in the production and maintenance of objects. I drew on empirical examples from the evolution of ‘piracy’ as an object of international governance and how contemporary maritime domain awareness approaches are increasingly rendering the object as multiple.