Our research

Increasing claims over marine areas and the further exploration of marine resources in additional regions has been an ongoing process for some decades. This leads to new, multi-layered challenges and potential conflicts - highlighting the relevance of International Ocean Governance, the heart of our research and teaching.

The urgency of International Ocean Governance has become clear also on the global political level as illustrated by the United Nations Ocean Conference in June 2017. It revolves around the question which central elements should be covered to offer sustainable solution strategies for current political and social challenges. More fundamentally, how can International Ocean Governance be defined in the first place?

Following the concept of Global Governance, we understand International Ocean Governance as multilevel governance with an interplay of local, national and global governance structures under participation of a variety of state and non-state actors. Regulating authorities include local actors such as municipalities, territorial states, regional groupings such as the Arctic Council as well as interstate organisations like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) or the International Maritime Organization of the United Nations (IMO). International Ocean Governance deals with subject matters as diverse as resource exploitation, protection of the marine environment, shipping, and maritime and coastal tourism.

Central objectives of the field of research, International Ocean Governance, are linking of theoretical fundamental research and critical analyses of pragmatic political decision-making processes, and the dissemination of research results into society by teaching and knowledge transfer.

Research questions of special interest to us are:

  • What are pivotal challenges for an effective global architecture of International Ocean Governance?
  • Is the participation of non-state actors beneficial to sustainable Ocean Governance?
  • Does the new political approach of an Integrated Maritime Policy offer improved possibilities for coordination within a currently highly fragmented policy area?