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Maritime security cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea: a role for cooperative sovereignty

Maritime security cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea: a role for cooperative sovereignty

Mitchell, Victoria Constance (2018) Maritime security cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea: a role for cooperative sovereignty. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Maritime security is a serious and ongoing concern to the Gulf of Guinea region. Interregional maritime security cooperation is of relatively recent origin and legislation, agreements and organisational infrastructure are still being developed. Previous research has identified a number of challenges to cooperation but there remain questions surrounding how sovereignty impacts maritime security cooperation. This thesis asks what conception of their role by states could best enable effective maritime security cooperation.

Cooperative sovereignty – sovereignty that includes a responsibility and authority to cooperate – is put forward as a means to promote effective maritime security cooperation. The decision to consider cooperative sovereignty flows from the fact that states claiming space and therefore claiming sovereignty, and sovereign rights over living and non-living resources, have corresponding duties.

The thesis examines literature, legislation and policy documentation together with fieldwork research. Findings are that maritime security threats are of common concern, transboundary and these limit the capacity of states to act unilaterally. Further, maritime delimitation is a complex process and cooperation based on settled boundaries is unrealistic in the short to medium term. Unsettled maritime boundaries in particular raise issues of sovereignty, jurisdiction and resource control between states that could hinder regional cooperation. Thirdly, development of effective national legislation and enforcement capacity to create or harmonise positions across the region is in progress but is limited. The conclusions support reframing the role of states in the maritime space. Case studies illustrate state practice where cooperative sovereignty could create a more effective cooperative environment.

Reframing how states understand their rights and responsibilities in the maritime space could better promote effective maritime security cooperation in a context where this is critical to security, economy and development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Maritime security, sovereignty, legal frameworks,
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2023 08:06

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