University of Bristol: New maritime security toolkit aims to present a new model for capacity building and governance of our seas

University of Bristol: New maritime security toolkit aims to present a new model for capacity building and governance of our seas

BRISTOL, 27-Mar-2018 — /EuropaWire/ — International policy makers, coastguard, navies and shipping companies can now access comprehensive advice and guidance to making the world’s oceans safe from piracy and smuggling.

Endorsed at its launch by the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Oceans, a new maritime security toolkit aims to present a new model for capacity building and governance of our seas.

More than 90 per cent of trade takes place by sea, with more than 10,000 tons of cargo transported by the world’s oceans every year.  Taking the Western Indian Ocean as a focus for the toolkit, researchers from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University outline how the risks of being attacked at sea, although diminished in recent years, can be mitigated.

Report co-author Professor Tim Edmunds, from the Global Insecurities Centre at the University of Bristol, said: “While piracy has declined in recent years, other factors such as drug, weapons and people smuggling, illegal fishing and international conflicts are growing threats to the economy, safety and health of our oceans.

“This new toolkit will help coast guards, fisheries, custom and boarder guards and environment agencies adopt a holistic view of maritime security and help build capacity to tackle this complex area. I’m delighted that the UN recognises that only together can maritime insecurity be fought and the prospects of our economy of the seas be fulfilled.”

Guidelines in the toolkit include:

  • Making full use of data and intelligence from social media
  • Negotiating external assistance
  • Recognising that ocean security is a political activity
  • Creating public awareness campaigns

The toolkit is part of work by the SafeSeas Project, funded by the British Academy, to develop key guidelines and best practices for the coordination, programming and implementation of maritime security capacity building and maritime security sector reform.

The project compares the ongoing efforts to restructure the maritime security sector in four countries: Djibouti, Kenya, Seychelles, and Somalia.


Mastering Maritime Security: Reflexive Capacity Building and the western Indian Ocean Experience by Professor Tim Edmunds and Professor Christian Bueger, presented to the international SafeSeas Symposium in Nairobi on 2 March.

Further information

Case study: Successful ownership in the Seychelles

Seychelles can be considered one of the most successful cases where maritime security sector reform projects have been steered and coordinated by the receiver country. To coordinate donors and capacity building in the country, the government installed a coordination committee at the ministerial level, assisted by a working group of agency representatives.

Seychelles conducted its own needs assessment and developed a comprehensive plan for investment and capacity building. The plan provided the basis for donor negotiations and ensured that all capacity building projects contributed to a long-term strategy. Part of
 the country’s success was due to the hospitable environment it provided for external donors and its avoidance of lengthy bureaucratic processes. Explicit transparency and openness concerning the work conducted in the country ensured easy access to agencies, with projects regularly discussed in national newspapers.

SOURCE: University of Bristol


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