SAFESEAS workshop on Maritime Security/ Sustainable Development in the Seychelles

Maritime Security and the Blue Economy are vital policy concepts for sustainable development in the western Indian Ocean. Yet, how do both of these agendas link to each other? Exploring this relationship, using the Seychelles as an exemplar, was the core task set out by a workshop at the University of Seychelles on Tuesday, the 18th of July 2017. The workshop was the outcome of a joint international initiative by SAFESEAS in collaboration with Cardiff University’s Sustainable Places Research Institute, the University of Seychelles James Michel Blue Economy Research Institute and the Sir James Mancham Centre for Peace Studies and Diplomacy

The event held  at Anse Royale, the main campus of the University of Seychelles, brought together core policy makers and users of the sea to discuss the organisation of marine policy in the Seychelles, as well as the challenges and success stories of the country.

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At the recent CGPCS 20th plenary in Mauritius, the SAFE SEAS team held a meeting with representatives of EU Critical Maritime Route Wider Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO) project to learn more about the projects plans and activities with regard to enhancing Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) and capacity building in the western Indian Ocean.

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SAFESEAS attends 20th plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy

From the 5th to 7th of July the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia held its 20th plenary meeting in Mauritius. Christian Bueger and Robert McCabe from the SAFESEAS team participated in the working group meetings and plenary discussions. Dr. Bueger was part of the Seychelles delegation and advised the Chairmen’s team during the event, while Dr. McCabe was attending as an observer.

The CGPCS is the main instrument of the international community to coordinate the response to Somali piracy and is also important in organising maritime security in the Western Indian Ocean region more broadly. Capacity Building with reference to both Somalia as well as the wider region was a major topic of the discussion. The international community reconfirmed its commitment to support Somalia and regional countries in their efforts.

For SAFESEAS the plenary also provided an important opportunity to meet and discuss with key stakeholders, such as UNODC, Ocean Beyond Piracy, EU Crimario, or the Kenyan Maritime Authority.

New publication investigates maritime domain awareness

In a new publication titled “Effective Maritime Domain Awareness in the Western Indian Ocean”, SAFESEAS principal investigator Prof. Bueger discusses the importance of maritime domain awareness for the region and asks how the structures can be better supported. He argues for the importance of paying more attention to low-tech solutions and working with human sources. The article is published as a Policy Brief of the Institute for Security Studies and available here.

Stakeholder Consultations and Fact Finding in Seychelles and Kenya

From the 18th to 28th of July the UK based SafeSeas team is visiting Seychelles in Kenya to meet key stakeholders from the maritime security sector in both countries as well as capacity building organisations to discuss initial findings of the project. The goal is to both intensify the collaboration with stakeholders as well as gather additional data for the project. The visits will also allow strengthening the relations between SafeSeas and its two core partner organisations in the region (the University of Seychelles and the University of Nairobi). If you are interested to arrange for meetings, please contact Dr. Robert McCabe. 

Talk at University of Cape Town

On the 27th of June, SAFESEAS principal investigator Prof. Bueger gave a lecture at the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Law. Drawing in large parts on an article forthcoming with the European Journal of International Relations, the talk discussed some of the core insights on global security governance that can be developed from the fight against piracy. The talk was titled “The fight against Somali piracy is over, isn’t it? Insights from a Laboratory of Global Security Governance”. Please find the abstract below.

The fight against Somali piracy is widely hailed as an exemplary case of successful international cooperation. The international community developed a system which contained piracy to reasonable levels within a short time span. For many piracy provides hence a template of how to organize global responses to transnational crime and other insecurities. Yet, how did this cooperation work in practice? What are the benefits and limits of the form of governance developed? Arguing that counter-piracy presents a case of experimental governance, Christian Bueger draws on an ethnography with the international contact group orchestrating the response to Somali piracy to address these questions. He briefly revisits some of the experiments the group conducted, and shows the importance of informality as well as science and technology in the cooperation. The case however also documents the limits of experimental governance: with the success of counter-piracy and the move from threat to risk the structures are increasingly contested and re-politicized

Does capacity building stand for a new era of international engagement?

Capacity building is the core term through which many global actors describe their international engagement today. While the concept of “capacity building” is anything but new, its arrival in international security discourse is relatively recent. Are we witnessing a major shift in terms of how security actors plan, implement and think about their international engagement?  Continue Reading

SafeSeas attends plenary of contact group on piracy (CGPCS)

In the first week of July the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) is holding its 20th plenary meeting in Mauritius.  One of the long-standing core agenda items of the CGPCS – the main global governance body for the coordination of counter-piracy work of the international community – is coordination of capacity building in Somalia and the Western Indian Ocean region. SafeSeas will attend the plenary to meet core stakeholders and to promote the objectives of the project. We aim at demonstrating how stakeholders can benefit from scientific research and advice in coordinating, planning and implementing capacity-building projects.

What knowledge does capacity building need? The fallacies of epistemic determinism

Inherent in contemporary understandings of capacity building is the idea that if a country possesses the right knowledge and technology then it will be able to handle the challenges associated with the Sustainable Development Goals. In consequence, much emphasis of capacity building work is on transferring technology and knowledge to least developed countries. Often, little thought goes into the question what the “right” or “appropriate” knowledge might be. The assumption is that knowledge (such as what functions a maritime security sector has to perform) is universal and can be easily transferred.  Continue Reading

Development, Security and the Oceans: Summary of World Oceans Day event

In celebration of World Oceans Day, the SAFESEAS team in collaboration with the Sustainable Places Research Institute and the Crime and Security Research Institute at Cardiff University held a seminar on the 8th of June with the aim of exploring linkages between some of the key challenges facing the ocean space. This blog summarises the key insights gained at the event.  Continue Reading