NATO fosters practical cooperation with Georgia through science
More than 140 experts, scientists, and government representatives from Georgia and Allied countries attended a NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Information Day in Tbilisi on 2 July.
Participants examined key priority areas of cooperation between NATO and Georgia through the SPS programme such as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) resilience and cyber defence. They also discussed other global security challenges, including energy security and counter terrorism.
Two decades of scientific cooperation
NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Ambassador Sorin Ducaru said, “Georgia is a country aspiring to join NATO, and is therefore, a special Partner for the Alliance. We very much value our political dialogue and longstanding cooperation with Georgia. This makes today’s event even more important because it will contribute to further strengthening our practical cooperation”.
Georgia has been an active partner in the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme since 1994, participating in more than 100 projects. The information day provided an opportunity to take stock of ongoing cooperation and to explore new joint projects.
Other leading areas of SPS cooperation with Georgia also include cutting-edge nanotechnologies for security applications, and disaster forecast and prevention activities.
In June 2014, Georgia hosted a workshop to discuss best practices for informing and engaging the public in the aftermath of a terrorist strike or natural disaster.
Enhancing security through science
Mr Alexi Petriashvili, Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration opened the SPS Info Day. “Today’s event attests to the diversity and depth of Georgia’s cooperation with the Alliance,” he said. The cooperation in the framework of Science for Peace and Security Programme provides yet another opportunity for us to join efforts towards enhancing security in our country as well as internationally.” Minister Petriashvili added, “Georgia is at the frontline of combating the security challenges on the ground alongside with NATO”.
Georgian First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Davit Zalkaliani emphasised the importance placed on scientific development by the government and highlighted the value of the SPS programme.
“One of the priorities of our government is the development of the scientific field in Georgia. Certainly, involvement of partners in this process is crucially important. I hope that the NATO SPS info day will promote a stronger engagement of Georgian scientists, experts and researches, and will help us to identify potential areas for future cooperation,” said Minister Zalkaliani.
Also while in Georgia, Ambassador Ducaru met with President Giorgi Margvelashvili and high-level government officials to discuss NATO-Georgian cooperation, specifically in the field of emerging security challenges.
In the margins of the event, NATO officials also conducted site visits to current projects. These included the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research, where efforts are ongoing to develop more effective Anthrax vaccines. Michael Gaul, Senior Advisor Project and Strategy for Emerging Security Challenges commended the level of expertise and stressed the importance of engagement from partners in the region.
The NATO SPS Information Day was organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.