Fostering Sustainable Development: Examining the challenges posed by maritime insecurity

Despite the financial crisis, the United Kingdom (UK) remains committed to spending 0.7% of its gross national income on official development assistance. Internationally the UK’s commitment to international development has led it to take on the role of Co-Chair of a panel, set-up by the United Nations, to look at a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals which expire in 2015. Such a period of reflection provides a particularly good opportunity for new issues to be highlighted in an effort to ensure future development objectives and the strategies that are formed to meet them, are as effective as is possible.

In this context this seminar series will investigate the relationship between sustainable development and maritime security facilitating increased maritime domain awareness. At its most basic the maritime domain is defined as the sea, navigable waterways and all activities associated with them. While a security challenge such as piracy, specifically off the Horn of Africa, has increasingly been the subject of news coverage, an assessment of the impact such challenges have on the populations of developing countries themselves and the impediments maritime insecurity can have on development efforts remains understudied. Beyond piracy the maritime domain is also exploited by those involved in Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, the dumping of toxic waste, and in the trafficking of illegal drugs to name just three examples, illustrating the breadth of the challenges faced.

The seminar series will consist of six seminars delivered over a two year period (2014-2015), three of which examine specific cases of maritime insecurity, drawing specifically on experiences in waters off African countries, a continent where development efforts have long been focused. Each seminar is structured so as to facilitate participant discussion, with academics, policy makers and practitioners from around the world invited to ensure different insights are shared, new relationships forged, and policy-relevant conclusions drawn. It is hoped that the process of investigating the relationship between sustainable development and maritime security in this seminar series will help contribute to the emergence of development efforts that are even more responsive to the needs of local populations.