Christian Bueger

Strengthening cross-Atlantic cooperation

In contrast to other oceans, such as the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic continues to be a disintegrated space, with only few attempts to bring regional states together under a common institutional umbrella. While parts of the Atlantic have developed very close ties, such as in the Arctic, North-Atlantic, Western Africa or in the South Atlantic, cross-Atlantic relations are only weakly developed.

In autumn 2023 more than 30 regional nations signed the Declaration for the Atlantic to change this situation. The declaration created a new forum: the Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation. An Agenda for Action for the new forum was agreed as well.

The Transatlantic Leadership Network started the Digital Atlantic Initiative to think ahead of how a focus on digital technologies could add to and strengthen the agenda. Over a series of meeting subsea data cables, marine spatial planning and maritime domain awareness were explored.

I had the pleasure to feed into the process with a paper on Maritime Domain Awareness in the Atlantic and presenting it at a group meeting on the 16th of May. In the paper, I briefly discuss the benefits of MDA and present the results of a mapping of existing initiatives in the Atlantic. This leads me to the observation that a notable MDA gap exists in the South Atlantic, and that a cross-Atlantic Coast Guard Function Forum could be a useful next step for strengthening the ties in the region to address issues of marine safety and security.

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