Annual Baltic Conference on Defense in Estonia to focus on strengthening society, defense

  • 2020-09-28
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Annual Baltic Conference on Defense (ABCD), which is to begin at the end of September, will discuss the impact of the global COVID-19 crisis on defense and security policy.

Representatives of NATO, allies and partners, defense and security policy experts and reserve officers will discuss at the Annual Baltic Conference on Defense 2020 on September 30 the impact of the global COVID-19 crisis on defense and security policy and how defense forces and reservists can most effectively help in crises, the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) said.

The conference, entitled "Strengthening Baltic Societal Resilience and Military Defense", will be opened by Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and keynote speeches will be made by Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik and Portuguese National Defense Minister Joao Gomes Cravinho. Other participants include NATO Assistant Secretary General John Manza, Commander of Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Brunssum Gen. Jorg Vollmer, Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe Lt. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, secretaries general of the defense ministries of the United Kingdom and Sweden and chairman of the UK Reserve Forces 2030 Review Lord Lancaster.

"Although there may have been a deceptive impression in the summer that the coronavirus has subsided, the figures for recent weeks show the opposite. NATO allied defense forces have so far assisted civilians with, for example, protective masks and transport. It is clear that the assistance of the defense forces, reservists and volunteers will continue to be needed, both in the ongoing coronary crisis and in other crises. How to provide support and co-operation most effectively is the main topic of the 14th Annual Baltic Conference on Defense," conference director Martin Hurt said.

Hurt noted that although the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global economy and healthcare system, security threats have not disappeared. "On the contrary, tensions in the Baltic region, around the Baltic Sea more broadly, have risen," he said. Therefore, one of the focus topics of the conference is enhancing the deterrence and protection of the U.S. and NATO against Russian aggression.

ABCD 2020 is organized by the International Center for Defense and Security and the Ministry of Defense of Estonia in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR). KAS was established in 1955 and focuses on consolidating democracy, the unification of Europe and the strengthening of transatlantic relations, as well as on development cooperation. CIOR has since 1947 represented the interests of up to 1.3 million reservists in NATO member nations who stand ready to reinforce the Alliance in times of emergency, not only military emergencies but also humanitarian.

The conference will take place in Tallinn, but many speakers will speak via video bridge and most of the invited participants will follow the event virtually.