Christian Bueger

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 Northern White Rhino. It is the first ecocide memorial, I have been present at so far.

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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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.

How to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea

On April 27 and 28 two key events of our collective research project AMARIS (Analyzing Maritime Security in Ghana) will take place in Accra. On day one we will have an internal meeting and review the set of current drafts for academic articles and how to drive them to publication. Papers, include a discussion of the problem of inter-agency coordination, the effect of maritime security strategies and on the impact that the concept of maritime security had for governance and organization of the maritime sector in Ghana.

On day two, the AMARIS team will present our key policy insights to the major stakeholders and agencies in Ghana. We will investigate how the maritime threat landscape has been evolving, what the key hurdles are in creating effective maritime security governance, and what best practices can ensure the effective delivery of capacity building. The event is hosted by the Center for Maritime Law and Security Africa one of the member institutions of AMARIS.

Presentations at EU in Brussels

From the 25 to 26th of April, Tobias Liebetrau and I will be visiting Brussels to present the key recommendations of our recently completed study on the security of subsea data cable infrastructures in Europe. We will be giving a presentation to the Security and Defense Committee of the European Parliament that commissioned the study.

We will also meet with the team from DG Mare and the External Action service that is drafting the update of the EU Maritime Security Strategy. We will present the results of the study on cables and also the key take away points of another forthcoming study on the EU’s maritime security policy (with Tim Edmunds).

EU – India Seminar on Maritime Security

The Indian National Maritime Foundation and the EU project ESIWA (Enhancing Security Cooperation In and With Asia) held an online EU-India seminar on maritime security and UNCLOS on April 11th. The key question addressed was how India and the EU can cooperate better to provide maritime security in the Indo-Pacific. I had the pleasure to chair the second session of the event.

SafeSeas visit to Lisbon

The SafeSeas team held meetings with partners in Lisbon on the 1st and 2nd of March. We first had a meeting with the Atlantic Center a key new knowledge production and capacity building initiative of Portugal’s Ministry of Defense. SafeSeas is in the process of forming a partnership with the Center to discuss strategic issues, such as subsea infrastructures, but also to work together in capacity building and the maritime security academy. We also visited the Maritime Operations Center of the Portuguese Navy which is the country’s maritime domain awareness center that integrates and coordinates search and rescue, border, police and other maritime functions.

In the afternoon we visited the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) headquarter. We received a briefing on EMSA’s surveillance work and how it uses satellite data and discussed the future of the agency in the EU’s overall maritime governance architecture. We also met with the UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme’s local representative.

Presentation at SHADE Meeting

SHADE – an acronym for Shared Awareness and Deconfliction — is the key forum in which the activities of navies in the Western Ocean are coordinated. Originating in the response to Somali piracy, SHADE know has a wider outlook on maritime crime and naval activities.

On the 2nd of February, SHADE held its 49th meeting, and I had the pleasure to address the participants. In my short presentation, I investigated the current and future role of the forum in the maritime security architecture of the Western Indian Ocean. I argued that SHADE is becoming more and more important because of the growing insecurity in the region as well as new naval activities which are geopolitically motivated and for instance linked to the rise of the Indo-Pacific as a geo-strategic region. SHADE will be important as a way out of the militarization dilemma in the region, to complement the diplomatic work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, but also to address future tasks related to e.g. maritime accident responses.