SafeSeas publishes Best Practice Toolkit

SafeSeas is pleased to announce the publication of the Best Practice Toolkit entitled Mastering Maritime Security: Reflexive Capacity Building and the western Indian Ocean Experience.

The report presents the core results of the SafeSeas project drawing on 16 months of research and work with a wide range of partners from the Western Indian Ocean region. The report consolidates the experience from that region and identifies best practices to organise maritime security more efficiently and devise ways in which it can be effectively supported by donors. It provides guidelines for mastering maritime security.

Mastering maritime security requires reflexive capacity building. What reflexivity means in practice is demonstrated in this report by drawing on the experience of the Western Indian Ocean region. The report is an important toolkit for all practitioners involved in maritime security. It also provides an essential guide for the planning, programming and implementation of capacity building for maritime security.


SafeSeas to host High Level Symposium on Maritime Security Capacity Building

To discuss how maritime security governance can be made more efficient and capacity building can be better coordinated and its delivery improved, SAFESEAS is organizing a high-level symposium in Nairobi, on the 2nd of March 2018. The symposium, the first of its kind, takes stock of the past experience in maritime security capacity building and asks how it can be more efficiently delivered and coordinated. The high level event is a meeting of representatives from countries benefitting from capacity building, representatives of actors engaged in capacity building and a range of practitioners active in maritime security projects.

The one-day event starts with a welcoming panel highlighting the importance of maritime security capacity building. This is followed by the discussion of the SafeSeas best practice toolkit on “Reflexive Capacity Building”. The afternoon programme zooms in on dedicated practical challenges – fishery crime, maritime domain awareness, and the delivery of capacity building. The day concludes with a strategic debate on the future of international engagement in the Western Indian Ocean region. The symposium provides a unique opportunity to rethink the efficacy of capacity building, the cooperation between donors and the region and steer it into new directions.

Confirmed speakers include high-level representatives from the governments of Djibouti, Kenya, Norway, Seychelles, Somalia, and the EU, as well as representatives from CMS, EUNAVFOR, the FAO, the IMO, the IOC, UNODC. For an updated programme and further details see our symposium site and for further information or to reserve a place, please contact

United Nations Special Envoy opens SafeSeas Symposium

The Special Envoy for the Oceans of the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, formally opened the SafeSeas Symposium on Capacity Building for Maritime Security on the 2nd of March. The goal of the high-level symposium is to rethink the strategy and methods of capacity building in the Western Indian Ocean region.

As H.E. Thomson highlighted, “sustainable development is not possible without security”. Maritime security hence is an important part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the Oceans.

He thanked the SafeSeas Project for living up to its commitment made at the 2017 UN Oceans Conference. As H.E. Thomson stated,

“I am delighted to see the commitment of the SafeSeas project implemented with the development of the best practice toolkit on maritime security capacity building. As well as through the organisation of this important symposium.”

He continued in emphasizing the importance of capacity building and the contribution that the SafeSeas best practice toolkit “Mastering Maritime Security” can make. As the Special Envoy suggested:

“Despite a growing number of capacity building initatives currently underway in the Western Indian Ocean and other regions of the world, there remains much to do in our collaboration to identify the best ways for all states to ensure greater maritime security so the sustainable development of ocean resources can be developed to its full promise.  In this regard, I am confident that the best practice tool kit […] will be an important new resource for us all. I am confident that this Symposium will serve as an important step forward to the sharing of experiences in capacity building in consideration of the best practices.”

At the one-day Symposium over 60 participants from different states and international organisations, including a range of ambassadors, will discuss the prospects of organising capacity building differently.

Best Practices: Integrating blue economy work

Maritime security, the blue economy and ocean health depend on each other (see box). Resource constraints demand that these sectors are closely coordinated and that efforts are not duplicated. Fishery services and environmental agencies hold information generated from their monitoring activities that is relevant to maritime security. Regulation of offshore resource exploitation, monitoring of fisheries and environmental protection require law enforcement at sea. Successful maritime security policies require the integration of the blue economy and ocean health.


Best Practices: Identifying Points of Contact

For donors and implementers of regional organisations it is often difficult to reach out to recipient countries. They struggle to identify the right individual or organisation to speak to or invite as a representative to a coordination meeting. The result can be that a government is weakly represented at international events, or that information about opportunities arising are not adequately transmitted within the government.

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Best Practices: Maritime Security Strategies

For many countries, maritime security strategies and plans are a useful coordination device. Such strategies provide overall direction and guidelines; they map agencies and accountability relations and describe maritime security governance structures and the roles and responsibilities of each agency. Often, as in the case of the EU Maritime Security Strategy or the Seychelles Maritime Plan (see box), they are accompanied by detailed plans of action and investment strategies.

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Best Practices: Maritime Domain Awareness

Effective knowledge production about activities at sea, also known as Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), is one of the backbones of successful maritime security governance on both national and regional levels. Establishing a centre that integrates data on maritime activity and analyses it is a priority. Such centres share information between agencies on both national and regional levels. In many countries, a national centre also integrates search and rescue, as well as the monitoring of fisheries.

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Lecture at Military Academy of South Africa

On January 31st, Professor Christian Bueger will be giving a lecture to the staff and students of the Military Academy of South Africa. Drawing on the core insights from SAFESEAS, in particular, the current draft of the best practice toolkit and the recent article in International Affairs, Prof Bueger will contextualize maritime security and speak about the dedicated challenges of it. He will, in particular, speak about the experiences with maritime security strategies, inter-agency challenges as well as the promises and perils of information sharing and maritime domain awareness.

Mastering maritime security: SafeSeas forthcoming best practice tool kit

Maritime security is a global task. It requires effective governance on a national and regional level, but also external capacity building to assist countries in developing the required human, institutional and material capacities needed to manage maritime spaces and enforce regulation within those spaces.

Mastering this complex arena requires reflexive capacity building. SafeSeas forthcoming Best Practice Toolkit entitled ‘Mastering Maritime Security: Reflexive Capacity Building…’, draws on the Western Indian Ocean experience to demonstrate what reflexivity means in practice, and how it can lead to better, more efficient and more effective governance structures and reform projects. This report functions as a toolkit for policy makers and practitioners involved in maritime security. It also provides an essential guide for the planning, programming and implementation of capacity building for maritime security.

For the first time ever, this report consolidates this experience and identifies best practices to organize maritime security more efficiently and devise ways by which it can be effectively supported through donor projects. It provides essential guidelines for mastering maritime security.

Over the next several weeks, SafeSeas will post short blog posts that explore various aspects of this forthcoming report.