The image shows a cog ship at sea Photograph: Thrago/Creative Commons/CC BY 2.0
Researh Centre

Centre for Ocean Governance


The politics and governance of the world’s oceans are of pressing importance to Norway, which manages ocean areas six times the size of its land mass.

Oceans are often analysed as sites of environmental politics or economic potential or security dynamics. However, in issues as diverse as maritime power projection in the South China Sea, piracy, public-private partnerships for the blue economy, and preventing plastic pollution, it is the intersection of economics, environment and security that demands further research to elucidate how the world’s oceans are – and could be better – governed.

NUPI’s Centre for Ocean Governance (COG) focuses on these complex and often informal interactions across issue areas and actor groups that shape efforts to govern or dominate ocean space. This focus supplements the Norwegian scholarly community’s existing strengths on issue-specific maritime legal regimes and natural sciences.

Our aim is to deliver high-quality scholarly publications and facilitate policy conversations and public discussion on:

Ocean diplomacy

Our researchers seek to understand why and how diplomacy and expert knowledge shape outcomes in global ocean governance (and why these efforts sometimes fail). This research strand aims to provide advice on how evidence-based policymaking on ocean issues can be further promoted and how the resources and expertise of the non-state actors can contribute to responsible global public goods management.

Geopolitics and security governance at sea

We research how countries’ geopolitical aspirations, and the non-state companies and policy networks with whom these states are associated, shape political relations around the world’s oceans. COG has country-level expertise on the ocean politics of Russia, the U.S., China, Japan, and Brazil, among others.

Comparative and historical research

We engage in systematic, long-lines studies of how the ocean space has become an object for international relations and of the broader networks (state and non-state) that shape policy outcomes for regional seas.

The NUPI research team behind the centre are: