NATO is stepping up scientific cooperation with the Netherlands
Dutch scientists and experts offered their insights on new ways to address emerging security challenges during a Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPS) Information Day held in The Hague on 15 March 2017. Fruitful cooperation between the Netherlands and NATO’s SPS Programme has already led to exploring common solutions to security challenges in the areas of cyber defence, terrorism, extremism and unexploded ordnance.
Organised in cooperation with the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to NATO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the SPS Information Day provided an opportunity for partners to build networks with Dutch scientists.
“The Netherlands is developing state-of-the-art scientific applications addressing the security challenges that NATO Allies and their partners all face. At the same time, there is a lot that we can learn from our partners; it’s a two-way-street. Today we are trying to bring scientists and partners together to develop new ideas,” said Mr Michel Rentenaar, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to NATO.
Current and past SPS grantees from the Netherlands were also able to speak about their past projects and experience with the SPS Programme. Dutch scientists and 60 participants from NATO partner nations, including experts from Serbia, attended the event.
Clearing unexploded ordnance
Under the NATO SPS umbrella, the Netherlands is cooperating with partner countries in clearing unexploded ordnance and countering terrorism. Given the current security environment, engaging partner nations is more important than ever to address emerging security challenges. “The flexibility of the SPS Programme makes it possible to adapt to the changing strategic context of the Alliance. SPS activities are therefore strongly aligned with NATO’s political, strategic and partnership priorities,” said Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.
In Egypt, due to a legacy of conflict lasting over 70 years, large areas in the country are contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). This issue poses a serious security challenge for local populations and hinders economic development and investment. Within the SPS Programme, Egypt and the Netherlands are making efforts to enhance ERW detection and access capability within the country.
The SPS Programme also supports the partnership between Montenegro and the Netherlands to increase and improve the capacity for clearance of unexploded ordnance in Montenegro. Through limiting the availability of explosive materials from unexploded ordnance, the threat of terrorist attacks in the region is reduced. This project was successfully live-tested as part of the NATO consequence-management field exercise organised by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre in Montenegro in November 2016. Other SPS activities with the Netherlands have provided policy recommendations on the development of counter-terrorism strategies.