Christian Bueger

AMARIS interpretation workshop

The core team of the Anaylizing Maritime Insecurity in Ghana (AMARIS) research project met on the 25th and 26th of August to reflect on initial findings and outcomes. AMARIS is the first project to investigate maritime security in the country of the Global South in-depth. While substantial research has been conducted on regional processes, and global maritime security providers such as the U.S., the European Union, Australia or the UK have been studied in detail, the national level in countries severely affected by maritime insecurities in the Global South have hardly been investigated, with few exceptions.

AMARIS Core Team

AMARIS is a collaboration between Denmark and Ghana based researchers. Together we explore maritime security on three levels: 1) blue crime, 2) maritime security governance, and 3) capacity building. Further information is available on the SafeSeas website.

Commentaries on UN Security Council debate on maritime security

The UN Security Council held its first ever open debate on maritime security on August the 9th. While the Council discussed maritime crimes in earlier debates, and has been pro-active in addressing crimes, such as piracy, the open debate was a high level exchange focusing on the broader strategic picture. The fact that the meeting was held at the level of heads of state and minister, with among others India’s prime minister Mr. Modi, and Russian president Mr. Putin addressing the Council, documents that maritime security is increasingly a top priority.

The Security Council debate is an important yardstick for how the international community thinks about maritime security, what priorities are in the discourse and what responses and institutional developments it is likely to spur. To investigate the key take away points from the debate, I have written a series of comments on the debate.

In the first commentary, published with Maritime Executive on August,12th, I discuss consequences for the shipping industry. I argue that the debate indicates that the center of gravity of the maritime security debate is increasingly shifting away from the International Maritime Organization towards New York. This raises the question if and how the shipping community will want to engage with the UN debates. The commentary was also taken up in a story in Lloyds List.

The second opinion piece asks whether the United Nations require a new institutional set up for maritime security. This was one of the issues raised in the debate. In the comment I investigate different scenarios of how such a structure might look like. It was published with the Global Observatory.

Conference on Maritime Asia

From the 9th to 12th of August I am participating in an exciting inter-disciplinary conference organised by the Centre for Geopolitics, Cambridge and the Institute for East Asian Studies, Berkley. The conference is titled “Maritime Asia: The securitization of the China Seas in the 19th to 21st Centuries.” As the title indicates the conference is an attempt to facilitate a trialogue between international history, international relations and area studies.

At the conference I will be give a presentation drawing on a paper co-authored with Scott Edwards. The paper investigates the rise of maritime Southeast Asia as an ocean region. It draws on and advances the securitizing community of practice framework to investigate the rise of a transnational maritime security community that conceives of maritime Southeast Asia in integrated and holistic terms.

MARISX of the Information Fusion Center, Singapore

From the 27th to the 29th of July I am attending the 7th MARISX exercises of the Information Fusion Center in Singapore. This years edition brings together representatives from 72 navies, coastguards, law enforcement agencies and other maritime stakeholders to discuss maritime insecurity challenges in Southeast Asia and to train how to use the information sharing system of the center the most effectively.

At the exercise I am facilitating three Q&A sessions and give a presentation on regional information sharing and MDA approaches.

Event on Subsea Data Cables

Yesterday, SafeSeas organized an event on the protection and governance of subsea data cables. On the basis of our recently published article, we discussed why data cables are often invisible, and what are the key challenges in governing and protecting them. The recording is available on YouTube.

The webinar was the first of a series organised as part of the DACANE project funded by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science. DACANE is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria and the SafeSeas network.

Routes, Cables and Spills: New research project on ocean infrastructures

From 2022 onwards I will be working on a new research project together with Kimberly Peters. In a new research group we will investigate the oceans through the analytical framework of infrastructures. We will focus on three pressing issues in ocean governance: Chokepoints and routes, subsea data cables and the prevention of marine oil spills. The project is a collaboration between Department of Political Science (DPS) of the University of Copenhagen, the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity and SafeSeas.

Discussion on methodology at University of Frankfurt

Today I had the pleasure to be a guest at a seminar on pragmatist research in International Relations, led by Gunther Hellmann. Based on readings of some of my texts on practices and pirates, we debated questions, such as the relation between neo-classical and neo pragmatism, what it means to center analyses in practice, the importance of concepts, and in how far methods based on pragmatist assumptions need to be controlled.

Workshop on the E3 in the Indo Pacific

What is the future role of the E3 – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – in the Indo Pacific region? This was the core question explored at an online expert workshop on 22.6. organized by four think tanks from the three countries. The focus was on two areas: 1) maritime security and 2) climate change and environmental policy.

The workshop participants discussed what the major challenges in these two areas are and whether and how the E3 would be the right format to take concerted action.

In my own contribution I stressed the importance of not narrowing down maritime security in the Indo-Pacific to inter-state affairs, but to pay full attention to the wider spectrum, in particular counter-terrorism and the fight against blue crimes, such as piracy, smuggling, illegal fishing and pollution. It is these problems where the E3 can make a major impact, rather than investing the majority of resource in signaling and freedom of navigation operations. I recalled the 2015 Luebeck Declaration on Maritime Security by the G7 which strikes a useful balance in terms of the different maritime security challenges.

I also stressed that any role for the E3 needs to be seen in the light of the European Union’s recent Indo Pacific Strategy, as well as the current experiments of the European Union in establishing Coordinated Maritime Presences as a new concept, at the moment tested in the Gulf of Guinea. How the UK can contribute to a future coordinated maritime EU presence in the Indo Pacific is the crucial question that needs to be addressed. Another institutional question is certainly in how far any response should be rather coordinated and carried out in the frame of NATO or the G7 rather than the mini-lateral E3 format.

The second session focused on climate change policies and highlighted in particular energy policy and decarbonization as ongoing coordination challenges. As the discussion revealed climate change and maritime security need to be seen as a inter-linked policy fields, in terms of the emissions from naval forces, new challenges for maritime security caused by climate change, as well as the importance of maritime security forces in enforcing environmental regulations at sea and securing biodiversity in particular in the face of disasters such as oil spills.

Is global shipping in crisis?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to discuss in Al Jazeera’s Inside Story show the current situation in shipping. The global shipping industry is under significant stress at the moment due to the ongoing pandemic with adverse effect on global supply chains. In the show we were discussing what to do about this situation and the larger implications of our dependency on the global transport infrastructure and how it is regulated.

Workshop on Standardization in Global Governance

On the 14th and 15th of June I had the pleasure to attend a workshop that illuminated different forms of standardization processes in global governance with a particular focus on standards of “good governance”. The workshop was organised by Jens Steffek, Technical University of Darmstadt, in collaboration with the Centre for Global Cooperation Research.

At the workshop I discussed the curious case of “best practices’ and how they emerged as a new way of how to conduct standardization. I offered a range of explanations for the impressive proliferation of best practices.