‘Sustainability as Maritime Security: A Small Island Developing State Perspective?’

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The article begins the process of outlining the way in which maritime security challenges are publicly articulated by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in order to better understand the backdrop against which security policy and practice emerge. To do this the article discusses the results of an initial, exploratory content analysis of UN SIDS conference documents framed by the central research question, ‘In the SIDS’ public conceptualisation of sustainable development, how are maritime security threats articulated?’ The article argues that for SIDS their conceptualisation of maritime security is inextricably wrapped up in concerns about sustainable development, with concern about challenges such as illegal fishing being pinpointed as threats to food security. The article calls for more research on the extent to which SIDS’ conceptualisation of maritime security differs regionally; highlights a vulnerability straitjacket SIDS may find themselves wearing; and suggests that SIDS consider the development of holistic sustainable blue growth strategies to bring multiple stakeholders together to enhance human wellbeing. To conclude, the article argues that ultimately efforts to pursue enhanced maritime security by SIDS will be determined by how they chart a path between emphasising their own vulnerability and the opportunities associated with their maritime domain.