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.