Fostering cooperation on emerging security challenges in Romania and the Balkans
Opportunities for security-related civil science cooperation between experts from Romania and NATO partner countries, particularly in the Balkans region, was the focus of an Information Day on the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, which took place in the capital Bucharest on 24 September 2013.
Professor Tudor Prisecaru, Secretary of State for the Romanian Ministry of National Education, emphasised that the SPS Programme “offers bilateral and multilateral cooperation opportunities and provides instruments to build sound relations between NATO nations and partner countries.”
Alexandru Ene, Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressed the programme’s value as a means to increase regional cooperation and address security challenges in the Balkans.
The event provided a forum to discuss the many challenges facing Romania and the wider region. Professor Prisecaru cited areas of importance to Romania, such as the environmental impact of Black Sea oil exploration on the Danube Delta and coastal areas, and the problems associated with obsolete pesticides and the dumping of pollutants and munitions. He also highlighted the potential for cooperation in fields such as energy security and cyber security.
Romanian scientists with ongoing SPS projects shared their experiences and accomplishments. One such project focuses on the early detection of bio-threatening bacterial infections. It is being conducted at the “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, which NATO experts visited during their stay. Romanian interlocutors explained that the project provided opportunities for exchange of expertise and to update scientific knowledge and technologies with counterparts in Greece and Germany.
Dr Deniz Beten, NATO Senior SPS and Partnership Cooperation Advisor, encouraged Romanian scientists and academics to make applications for grants which have a strong regional component, especially involving neighbouring countries.
Explaining how the SPS Programme works, the NATO Science Advisor Dr Eyup Turmus highlighted the importance of linking activities and research to security and the strategic objectives of the Alliance. He also underlined the potential for engaging the “leaders of tomorrow” on civil cooperation through active regional initiatives.
The event, which was organised by the SPS Programme in cooperation with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the University Politehnica, attracted more than 70 Romanian experts, scientists, academics and students.