As part of the visit of the Department of Politics and IR to our partner university in Xiamen, we held the first XMU-Cardiff Symposum on Maritime Security. The objective was to share Chinese and European perspectives on the challenges of maritime security, how can they be theorized, and how the challenges that arise in the South China Sea in particular can be managed. The first section of the event investigated maritime security from a birds eye perspective in explore the role of justice, power and history in understanding contemporary maritime security relations. This was followed by a section that aimed at conceptualizing the concept of maritime security and its links to human security as well as disputes and fishery conflicts. The following section zoomed in on a range of cases, including the paralells between african maritime security cooperation and Asian, and the importance of bilateralism in addressing the disputes in the South China Sea. Taking together the symposium revealed, firstly, the importance for devoting more intellectual attention to maritime security and the importance that the maritime will hold in the 21st century. Secondly, the symposium documented how productive it is to leave a euro-centric perspective and scrutinize maritime security from a broader perspective which takes into account different intellectual traditions, disciplines as well as combinin theory with detailed empirical knowledge.
Next week I will join a small delegation of my home department on its visit to Xiamen University (XMU). XMU is our partner university and we are visiting our collegues in the School of International Relations. Like Cardiff also XMU has rich expertise in maritime security, which is the theme we will be discussing. We will also be exploring ways of further intensifying the collaboration.
From 28-30 April 2015 I will participate in the symposium on „The Regional Dynamics of Peace and Security in West Africa“. The event is organized by the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) at the University of Bonn, Germany, the West Africa Institute (WAI) in Praia, Cabo Verde, the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) at the University of Portsmouth, UK, and the Raoul-Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada. It will take place at the premises of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAITPC) in Accra, Ghana. The objective of the event is to strengthen the network of local and international scholars working on security issues in Western Africa. At the conference I will present our ongoing work on maritime security cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea and the effects of the 2014 Yaounde Code of Conduct.
Before attending today’s ReCAAP piracy conference, I visited the Sea Asia Exhibition, a maritime trade show. On display were engine parts, safety and navigation equipment, and a range of consultants were offering there services. Nothing unusual, as at any other industry fair. Yet, there was something else on offer: sovereignty. Several flagstate authorities were advertising to register their ship under their sovereignty. St. Kitts and Nevis, Panama, Singapore, but also the UK had booths at the fair. Sovereignty is not supposed to be for sale. Yet, in the maritime world buying, selling and outsourcing sovereignty is an everyday phenomenon. It is a commodity, a fact that not only challenges conventional understanding of sovereignty and the rights and obligations that come with it. It is also hugely problematic to address maritime crime given that under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, law enforcement falls under the flag state. Let’s hope more people shop their flag in the UK. But quite honestly, the St. Kitts and Nevis booth looked much more attractive, and Panama’s free gift, a ship USB stick is sort of cool, too. Some further flag state pics below.
On Thursday, 22nd of April I will be attending the annual ReCAAP ISC piracy conference. The conference is held as part of the Singapore Maritime Week and is this year titled “Separating Fact from Fiction”. It is organized together with BIMCO, INTERTANKO, and S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). The event features two scenario-based panel discussions using case studies based on real incidents occurred in Asia. Speakers representing the shipping industry, IMO, enforcement agencies and relevant governmental agencies are invited to speak about their roles, expectations and challenges in each scenario. This will be an exciting opportunity to see the ReCAAP ISC in action as they work on disseminating best practices and awarness raising.
On the of 22 April 2015 (Wednesday) I will give a talk on my ongoing research on maritime domain awareness and information sharing in South East Asia at the seminar series of the Center for International Law of NUS.
Here is the abstract:
“Information Sharing and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) are at the heart of the contemporary maritime security agenda. The goal of MDA is to develop shared understandings of developments and threats at sea. This provides one of the preconditions for coordination and cooperation between the diverse maritime security agencies. In this seminar, Dr Bueger will present his paper on the organisation of MDA in the South East Asian region. He argues that MDA is not only a technical challenge, but also a social, political and legal one. Three South East Asian MDA and Information Sharing centres will be discussed in light of these challenges. The political and social functions these centres perform in the governance of maritime security in the region will be explored. The conclusion outlines what lessons the South East Asian system suggests for organising MDA in other regions, including the Western Indian Ocean and West Africa and the rise of a cooperative security culture.”
On April, 16th, I will give a talk at the Department of Political Science of NUS. In the talk titled “Experimental Governance in Practice. The Case of Counter-Piracy off the Coast of Somalia” I will present some of the insights that can be gained from counter-piracy for global (security) governance in broader term. The abstract is below:
“International actors increasingly turn to global governance arrangements that are informal and experimental in character. The majority of research so far tends to describe institutional settings rather than analyse what actually happens in such arrangements. This presentation introduces the results from a detailed case study on the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. The study draws on premises from the practice turn in International Relations Theory and an ethnomethodological tool kit. It reveals what experimenting means in practice and outlines what the broader consequences of the turn of policymakers towards experiments will be.”
The seminar takes places at Thursday, 16th of April 2015, 3.30pm to 5.00pm, Block AS1-04-01, PS Staff Meeting Room, Department of Political Science, NUS.
On April 13th I will participate in a Workshop run by DPWorld on the future and state of counter-piracy. The one day event is titled “Mitigating Maritime Piracy through Economic Prosperity and Cross-Sector Innovation: From Africa to South East Asia”. As implied by the title the first core theme is to ask how regions can learn from each other and how cross-regional cooperation in counter-piracy can be facilitated. The second theme is to discuss the relation between economic prosperity and maritime crime, and ask which economic development and innovation programs could be productive to encounter crime. The third theme is to discuss the themes and reach of the upcoming 2015 DP World/UAE counter-piracy conference.
Yesterday, I visited the Piracy Reporting Center (PRC) of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) at its office in Kuala Lumpur. The IMB works on piracy since its installment in the 1980s, and the PRC is the oldest piracy information sharing center installed as a 24 hours operational center in 1991. From the visit to PRC it became clear how much emphasis this center puts on problemsolving and organizing rapid pragmatic responses by being the first point of contact of the shipping community and getting law enforcement agencies to act. The fact that it is set up as a non-governmental organization has clear benefits, since the PRC can put different pressure on states, e.g. through the media, then governmental centers can do. As a body, which aims at assisting the shipping industry and seafarers primarily, the IMB, is the Red Cross of the Oceans if it comes to piracy.
The visit completed my tour through the regions information sharing centers. I am currently completing a draft paper on the basis of the results which I will present at the Center of International Law of NUS on the 22nd of April. The paper argues to understand the three centers as a functional system in which each performs a different role. I also ask what the lessons from this system for other regions, in particular the Western Indian Ocean are.
As part of the project “The return of the theorists” by Richard Ned Lebow, Hidemi Suganami and Peer Schouten I have written together with Peer Schouten a virtual interview with pragmatist thinker John Dewey. In the interview we discuss with Dewey, about his understanding of knowledge production and methods, politics, and language games. The interview is published as Theory Talks interview #100. Please read the full version here.