Stepping up scientific cooperation with Montenegro

  • 16 Jun. 2014 -
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  • Last updated: 24 Jun. 2014 11:03

Montenegro is actively involved in the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme. In the past year, three new SPS activities have been launched in leading areas of cooperation including unexploded ordnance (UXO) detection, cyber defence and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) resilience.

From cyber defence to UXO clearance

Following the turbulent years of war in the 1990s, UXOs are still found in unsecured areas in Montenegro, posing a considerable risk to the local population. However, the national UXO clearance team largely lacks the technological know-how and equipment. A multi-year SPS project to support the clearance of UXOs in the country was launched recently. The Netherlands is assisting Montenegro in acquiring and developing state-of-the-art technologies and methods of UXO clearance.

In the framework of the SPS Programme, a workshop on CBRN Defence and Border Security Capability Building in the Western Balkans took place in Budva, Montenegro. Its aim was to improve the ability to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Delegates focused on border security and assessed potential solutions in three key areas - planning, exercises and training, as well as operations and capabilities.

The Montenegrin Institute of Public Health is supporting another SPS project to research and develop a device, known as an atmospheric-pressure plasma jet, which could decontaminate surfaces and destruct or dispose of chemical or biological warfare agents. The project is led by scientists from Serbia and Slovenia.

Montenegrin system and network administrators also took part in hands-on cyber defence training in autumn 2013. Participants were introduced to key concepts and techniques in the realm of network security, helping Montenegro to increase the resilience of its national IT infrastructure to cyber attacks.

Increasing scientific cooperation

On 16 June 2014, more than 60 government officials, experts and scientists gathered at a round table discussion held at the University of Montenegro in Podgorica. Participants exchanged views on the role of science in NATO and discussed opportunities in the framework of the NATO SPS Programme. Part of the panel discussion was dedicated to cyber security, a key priority for Montenegro.

Minister of Science of Montenegro Professor Sanja Vlahović underlined the added value of the SPS Programme for Montenegro. She pointed to the opportunities it provides for scientists to acquire new knowledge and cutting-edge technologies.

National Coordinator for NATO and the Prime Minister's Foreign Policy Advisor, Nebojša Kaluđerović added, “We want to be part of a system of values where knowledge and continuous improvement are of great importance.”

Senior SPS and Partnership Cooperation Advisor Dr Deniz Yüksel-Beten underlined the importance of the SPS Programme for NATO’s work with partners and the significance of scientific collaboration. “Through the SPS Programme, NATO and Montenegro have been able to improve relationships with other countries in the region,” she said.

The round table discussion was organised by the government of Montenegro through the Ministry of Science and Council for Science and Research Activity in cooperation with the think-tank project “Montenegro Future Forum”.