NATO holds conference on “Intangibles of Security”

  • Last updated: 12 May. 2009 18:03

As part of a new joint initiative “Security: Advancing a Framework for Enquiry (SAFE)”, the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme and the European Science Foundation held a conference on “The Intangibles of Security”, 21-22 April, in Brussels.

In an attempt to understand the nonmaterial aspects of security through psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, theology and other disciplines, the original workshops, run over the past 2 years, covered 4 areas:

  • Models of Security (June 2007, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzgovina)
  • Identity, Loyalty and Security (October 2007, Casablanca, Morocco)
  • Security and Norms: Law, Ethics and Justice (March 2008, Oslo, Norway)
  • Management of Security: Successes and Failures (21-23 May 2008, Istanbul, Turkey)

The conference built on the findings of the workshops to produce recommendations for the wider science community to advance a more holistic and truly interdisciplinary and inter-sector approach to security.  Participating experts concluded that not only the “hard” dimension but also the “soft” part of security required a greater commitment for research and creativity. These requirements have been motivated by several challenges:

  • first, the deliberate organization and perpetration of a new kind of terrorist aggression;
  • second, the necessity to use measured but appropriate military force in situations of human disaster, and
  • third, the globalization of environmental unrest and actual or potential disasters.

The conference presented the results of the joint SAFE initiative, but also aimed to define the future of international cooperation on security research. The intention was to define a common framework for future research and policy guidance.

The event was organised under the leadership of Dr. François Géré, President of the Institut Français d'Analyse Stratégique, Paris. The European Science Foundation's Director of Science and Strategy Development, Marc Heppener, and NATO's Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Strategic Communications Services, Mr Michael Stopford, welcomed the 140 experts from NATO, Partner and Mediterranean Dialogue countries on Tuesday morning. Mr. Jean-François Bureau, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, made closing remarks on Wednesday afternoon.