Christian Bueger

Discussions on maritime security and infrastructures in Geneva

While the global attention for the oceans continues to be unprecedented, maritime security and critical maritime infrastructure protection lack an institutional home within the United Nations system. While different UN agencies deal with aspects of the agenda, the debate is dispersed and lacks a holistic outlook. This includes the International Maritime Organization, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction or the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Maritime security has also been high on the agenda of the UN Security Council. This risks global fragmentation and the question of the relation between regional and global ocean governance continues to be unsettled.

On November 9th I had the pleasure to discuss with UN bodies in Geneva how this situation can be addressed.

Discussing security challenges in the Mediterranean in Athens

The Mediterranean is an increasing volatile region and close attention for the range of security challenges is needed. I had the pleasure to discuss these challenges with colleagues at an event co-organized by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and NATO, held in Athens on 3.11.2023.

In my talk I was reviewing the set of maritime security issues in the region, highlighting the need to think beyond the problem of irregular migration at sea.

Visit to Hawai’i

The protection of critical maritime infrastructures is a global concern. During a stay in Hawai’i I participated in a two day workshop on subsea data cables in the Indo-Pacific organized by the Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs, University of Hawai’i. I had also the pleasure to meet the staff of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies for a discussion of maritime security and capacity building in the region.

Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs
Workshop at the Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs, University of Hawai’i

At the workshop I was drawing on our research on critical maritime infrastructure protection to argue for the need to rethink maritime security in the light of the growing density of maritime infrastructures. While there is increasing awareness for the importance of subsea data cable, it is important to recognize the inter-dependencies between maritime infrastructures, in particular energy and data.

Talk on infrastructure protection in South China Sea

I had the pleasure to give an online talk at the 15th South China Sea International Conference organized by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. The conference is one of the most important gatherings of maritime security experts in the region.

In my talk I was outlining the implications of the critical maritime infrastructure protection agenda for the region. Vietnam in particular has substantial potential in offshore energy production, which raises the question of how these installations will be protected in the future.

Talk at forum on Baltic Security

The question of how regional seas, such as the Baltic and North Sea can be secured differently, continues to be a top priority in Europe’s security and defense debate. On October, 11th I had the pleasure to speak at a forum at the British Embassy in Copenhagen.

In my talk I stressed the importance of shifting our thinking about security to account for the new age of infrastructure we are living in. Our growing dependency on maritime infrastructures, notably in the light of the green energy transformation which depends on offshore installations, implies that we have to better integrate policy and operations that address energy security, supply chain security, maritime security and marine safety.

We also need to revisit how to better manage regional inter-dependencies, not only in the framework of NATO and the EU, but also institutions, such as the Bonn Agreement or the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.

Dealing with threats and emergencies, such as the 2022 Nordstream sabotage, the 2023 Balticconnector leak, but also accidents, such as the Yannis P incident of August 2023, caused by shadow fleets, demand so.

A recording of the event is available here.

New article: Offshore wind energy and maritime security

How are energy security and maritime security intertwined? In a new article forthcoming in Ocean Yearbook, Tim Edmunds and I discuss the threats and risks linked to offshore wind energy platforms. We discuss the different scenarios that arise from marine safety, blue crime, terrorism and greyzone war fare, as well as different mitigation and response options from civil, military and private actors. The article is available as a pre-print here.

Security in the Baltic Sea – event in Washington, DC

How can regional sea states cooperate better to enhance maritime or energy security? This question is gaining increasing salience in different policy circles. On September 27th I had the pleasure to contribute to a debate organized by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. The meeting was part of an upcoming series of discussions on the Baltic Sea region.

Legal infrastructures

The opportunities of thinking infrastructurally for revisiting core questions of politics and social relations are also increasingly seized in international legal studies. On the 21st of September I had the pleasure to attend a workshop on legal infrastructures organized by the new center on mobility law at the University of Copenhagen.

Drawing on the concept of infrastructures allows to rethink the machinery of law as composed of structures and practices, which are material and social, and brings a broader array of agency to the fore. Law is in many ways ingrained in any infrastructure. Shipping would not function without the Law of the Sea and the conventions of the International Maritime Organization. The same time law can also be interpreted as an infrastructure in its own right with its internal logics and effects on how international relations are organized. Treaties and their institutions and norms can here be understood as enabling particular international practices, such as diplomacy and regulation.

Term starts in Copenhagen

A new teaching term kicked off at the University of Copenhagen. This semester I will have the pleasure to explore with students two crucial topics.

In the first seminar co-taught with Jan Stockbruegger we explore Global Ocean Politics. We discuss what is at stake in governing the oceans exploring the wide range of problems and actors that the oceans are facing. The seminar adds a teaching component to our ocean infrastructure research group.

The second seminar concerns methodology and research design. In the course titled ‘How to design research in International relations that matters‘, we will explore how research can be designed to resonate in global political discourses and interfere with international practices. With our focus on small scale research projects this is an interesting challenge that we need to get better at tackling.