Christian Bueger

From Dusk to Dawn? Maritime Domain Awareness in South East Asia

3-NUS_Logo_sml_wht-transOn 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.”

Further information is available on the CIL website. You can download the full draft paper here.

Experimental Governance in Practice. Talk @ NUS Polsci

20140514_122853On 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.

Piracy Workshop in Dubai

MovenpickOn 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.

Regional Information Sharing III: A visit to the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Center

JpegYesterday, 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.

An Interview with John Dewey, pre-version published

Theory Talk -100 - DeweyAs 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. 

Does the Mediterranean need a contact group?

In a new comment published on the CIMSEC Blog, I discuss what might be learned from counter-piracy for the current migration crisis in the Mediterranean. I argue that there are at least three major lessons: 1) a Contact Group following the CGPCS model is required that brings all stakeholders together, 2) an operational, information sharing and coordination mechanism that follows the role model of SHADE will improve the response, 3) solutions lie on land and not at sea, hence more efforts will be required to assist the littoral states, notably Lybia.

The Royal Navy’s Hudson Conference IV: What directions for maritime security governance?

Merton_College_front_quadOver the last two days, I had the pleasure to attend the fourth installment of the Hudson Conference on Maritime Crime and Development, jointly organized by the Royal Navy and the Global Directions Program of Merton College, Oxford University. Over the years the two day conference has become a major format for the discussion between navies and academics on the challenges that the new maritime security agenda poses (a summary of last years event is available on

This year’s edition was on maritime security governance. Bringing together Royal Navy officers, academics, and representatives from various NGO’s and International Organizations the various ways that maritime security is governed were discussed. The focus was on the one side how maritime insecurities and threats, such as piracy, smuggling or fishery crimes rely on informal governance mechanisms which make them particularly difficult to address. On the other side the discussion concerned the governance of responses, ranging from problems of capacity building, to the regulation of private security companies and the shipping industry. In particular the discussion concerned the question of how one can cope with the flag state provisions of UNCLOS and the problem of open registries.

At the conference I presented my latest research based on the field work I am currently doing in Singapore. My presentation was titled “Maritime Domain Awareness – a key enabler? The South East Asian Experience”. In the paper I reflect on the challenges of the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) agenda poses and argue against understanding these in purely technical terms. MDA is a form of informal maritime security governance. MDA  systems are socio-political-technical assemblages par excellence and as such they imply new forms of security governance. In the paper (available on request, but forthcoming soon) I discuss a range of social and political problems of achieving what MDA promises: to coordinate maritime security responses across states and agencies by developing a shared understanding of what happens at sea and what requires action. As discussed in my recent blogs on the Singaporian MDA centers ISC and IFC, in South East Asia we find an interesting three-center system that might become a role model for other regions in various ways.


The History and Sociology of International Thought: A troublesome relation?

3-NUS_Logo_sml_wht-transWhat can the History of Intellectual Thought contribute to International Relations theory? Clarifying the relation between both projects was the objective of the Annual Political Theory Symposium of the Department of Political Science of the National University of Singapore (NUS). The symposium held on the 19th and 20th of March, brought together a range of key thinkers in the History of International Thought. There was some thought provoking insights for the Sociology of International Relations, too. Continue reading

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Regional information sharing II: A visit to the ReCAAP ISC

JpegFollowing my recent visit to the IFC, this week I also had the pleasure to visit the second of the “big three” Information Sharing and Reporting Centres of South East Asia: the Information Sharing Centre of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery (ReCAAP ISC). The ISC was launched in November 2006, and is hence the second oldest centre devoted to piracy (after the Piracy Reporting Centre of the International Maritime Board, IMB PRC). The basis of the centre is a formal multi-lateral (government-to-government) agreement finalized in November 2004 which came into force in 2006. In comparison to IFC, it is hence a more formalized and institutionalized form of cooperation which includes a governing council which steers the work of the ISC. ReCAAP has become a major role model for agreements in other areas, including the 2010 Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) in the Western Indian Ocean and the more recent Yaounde Code of Conduct (YCoC) operating in the Gulf of Guinea. ReCAAP has 19 “Contracting Parties” which includes the East Asian literals, but also a range of European states (Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, UK) and Australia, Japan and the US. Continue reading