This was one of the questions that was discussed at a webinar on the situation in the Gulf of Guinea on 21.10. At the seminar organized by the Portuguese Atlantic Center in collaboration with the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute, the first key issue was what the state of the maritime security architecture currently is. Solomon Agada from the Nigerian Navy, and Cilles Ghehab from the GoGIN project addressed the substantial progress under way.
The debate then turned to more general questions about interventions and capacity building. Emanuel Bell Bell from the ICC Yaounde argued that more local ownership is needed and dependency needs to be reduced. In my own contribution I drew on the lessons from our book on capacity building and the research done in the frame of the AMARIS project. I argued for the importance of recognizing the political dimensions of capacity building – local, regional, and geopolitical – and turning to long term funding and maintenance questions. I also highlighted the importance of appreciating failures in capacity building to learn, not the least given much of current projects are experimental in nature.
Our new research project Analyzing Maritime Insecurity in Ghana (AMARIS) is launching. The project which is part of the SafeSeas family, investigates the inter-linkage between blue crimes in Ghana’s waters, maritime security governance in the country, including a case study of the maritime security strategy, as well as the impact of external capacity building assistance. The project is funded by the Danish International Development Agency DANIDA and is a cooperation between the University of Copenhagen, CEMLAWS Africa, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, and the University of Ghana. It will run until 2022. Part of the project is a training school for junior maritime security analysts from West Africa. More information will be available soon on the SafeSeas website.
To revitalise the African discussion on maritime security the government of Nigeria is organising a Global Maritime Security Conference held in Abuja from the 7th to 9th of October. At the event I will give one of the keynote speeches, discussing different reasons for why there continues to be a lack of attention for the sea, investigating in particular neo-colonial arguments and the exploitative tenets in the blue economy project.
From the 24th to 27th of September I will be attending the training week of UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP), held in Stellenbosch, South Africa. At the event I will deliver two training sessions. The first one looks at Environmental Crime at Sea, and is largely a scoping exercise, asking how we should conceptualise environmental crimes in the context of ocean governance and the anthroprocene. The second session focuses on Maritime Security Governance drawing on the SafeSeas Best Practice Toolkit and the governance model presented there as well as the relevance of maritime security strategy. I will also chair a public roundtable jointly organised with SIGLA. The roundtable is titled “Caught between AIMS-2050 and Lomé: Why do African states still not care about the seas and oceans?”. It features a range of South Africa based maritime security experts and investigates the reasons for the lack of attention in African states for ocean governance and maritime security.