Safe Seas Network

The Safe Seas Network brings together academic institutions that studies maritime security governance and efforts to support it through capacity building. The goal is to provide evidence to improve current processes and to identify and share best and promising practices.

The current re-evaluation of the maritime as a space of insecurity and economic opportunity has led to a growing awareness for the weak capacities of the majority of coastal states. 

Protecting territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones, preventing maritime crimes, such as piracy and illegal fishing, and ensuring the sustainable exploitation of maritime resources requires significant law enforcement capacities, information sharing tools and working maritime governance structures. These are the processes that Safe Seas supports.

Safe Seas is in the process of building an evidence base on Transnational Organised Crime at Sea (TOCAS) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK and also develops regional guides for several maritime regions.

Best practice toolkit: Mastering Maritime Security

The SafeSeas Network develops key guidelines and best practices for maritime security governance and the coordination, programming and implementation of maritime security capacity building.

"Mastering Maritime Security: Reflexive Capacity Building and the Western Indian Ocean Experience" is an important toolkit for all practitioners involved in maritime security, providing essential guidance on the planning, programming and implementation of capacity building for maritime security.

Best practice toolkit: Mastering Maritime Security (PDF, 4,305kB)

Safe Seas key findings and policy implications

  • Capacity building is a political process that entails a distribution of power and authorities.
  • Gaps in existing capacities are best identified through participatory processes that include all users of the sea, such as the drafting of maritime security strategies or marine spatial plans.
  • Local ownership is an important guiding principle – but its meaning is contested and requires continuous negotiation between donors and receives.
  • One of the priorities of capacity building must be strengthening knowledge about the sea, in particular Maritime Domain Awareness. Knowledge provides the key basis for cooperation and dealing with complexity.
  • Technology and knowledge transfer need to be tailored to the local situation. Careful consideration is required as to which technologies are appropriate in a local context and which essential skills are necessary.
  • The synergies between maritime security, the blue economy and sustainable development need to be better realised.
  • Capacity building should focus on both the state and society, and community organisations.
  • Dedicated local analytical capacities, such as research institutions are required to ensure that maritime security is recognized as political priority and that external actors can draw on local knowledge.
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