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New research project investigates maritime security capacity building in the Western Indian Ocean

29 Tachwedd 2016

East African port

A new research project hosted by Politics and International Relations academics and the university’s Crime and Security Research Institute will study lessons from maritime security capacity building in the Western Indian Ocean.

The project entitled SafeSeas is a pilot project and compares the ongoing efforts to restructure the maritime security sector in four countries (Djibouti, Kenya, Seychelles, and Somalia). The aim of SafeSeas is to develop key guidelines and best practices for the programming and implementation of maritime security capacity building and maritime security sector reform. Although maritime capacity building has been done in limited forms for decades by international navies and the International Maritime Organization, it is generally considered as a new field of international activity.

As Christian Bueger, Reader in International Relations and principal investigator of the project commented, “This is an exciting opportunity to shape the international debate on how to safeguard the seas and how to assist coastal developing states in their efforts to address maritime insecurities. The project will allow us to study current assistance programs in depth and to lay out a range of recommendations useful for the European Union, the UK and international bodies such as the International Maritime Organization. It will also allow us to strengthen our profile as one of the world leading institutions in the field of ocean governance and maritime security”.

The project has four aims: (1) to strengthen our understanding of the challenges and effects of maritime security sector reform (MSSR); (2) to transfer lessons from other fields of capacity building to the maritime; (3) to develop a methodology for mapping national maritime security sectors; and (4) to identify best practices, gaps and shortcomings in the delivery of capacity building .

SafeSeas is funded by the British Academy and part of the UK's Global Challenges Research Fund initiative to strengthen development through research. It is implemented in conjunction with the University of Bristol’s Global Insecurities Centre and cooperates closely with different international actors including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Critical Maritime Routes Horn of Africa (CRIMARIO) project of the European Union, and the University of the Seychelles.

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