Fruitful cooperation in the framework of NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPS) is a noteworthy area of Azerbaijan-NATO partnership. Azerbaijan began getting regularly involved in NATO’s science activities as early as 1995.
The NATO SPS Programme enables close collaboration on issues of common interest to enhance the security of NATO and partner nations by facilitating international efforts to meet emerging security challenges, supporting NATO-led operation and missions, and advancing early warning and forecasting for the prevention of disasters and crises.
In order to further foster the cooperation in this field, the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme Information Day was held on 10 April 2014 in Azerbaijan. Scientists, researchers and experts from various countries gathered in Baku to exchange views on new initiatives and proposals to engage with NATO through science programmes and activities. Proposals touched on activities in the fields ranging from energy security and cyber defence through the promotion of the role of women in matters related to peace and security. The participants of the Information Day got acquainted with the SPS Programme, its priorities, application and selection procedures.
Azerbaijan is among the partner countries actively cooperating with NATO through the SPS Programme. The projects implemented via the Programme include areas like the analysis of the Caspian Sea ecosystem, protection of drinking water supplies vulnerable to eco-terrorism, management and sustainable development of urban water resources, dealing with the consequences of earthquakes, and assessment of the risks of seismicity along the oil and gas pipelines. Below are some examples of completed projects under the NATO SPS Programme.
Emerging Security Challenges: Enhancing energy security in the XXI century. In May 2013, a conference was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, to discuss enhancing energy security in the 21th century. The conference was initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan’s Diplomatic Academy, the State Department of the United States, and NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division. The event brought together leading experts in the fields of cyber defence, counter-terrorism and infrastructure security to discuss the cross-cutting character of emerging risks to energy security, with a special focus on the Caspian region.
Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment for Southern Caucasus–Eastern Turkey energy corridors. The Southern Caucasus–Eastern Turkey energy corridors were formed by several critical pipelines carrying crude oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan, via Georgia, to Turkey and world markets. The objective of the project was to identify the segments of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Crude Oil Pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Natural Gas Pipeline that were vulnerable to earthquakes, and to provide mitigation strategies by performing a comprehensive seismic hazard and risk study for the pipelines.
Hands-on Cyber Defence Training Course for System/Network Administrators. During the first two weeks of September in 2014 and February in 2016, network and system administrators from ministries and the national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) of Azerbaijan participated in the Hands-on Cyber Defence training course for System/Network Administrators. The hands-on training programme included both a theoretical session and practical laboratory exercises of core aspects of cyber security such as cryptography, cyber security monitoring, defending web applications, and conducting vulnerability assessments. Trainees also learned how to defend operating systems, user accounts and infrastructure. A penetration testing session and an exam allowed participants to apply and test their newly acquired expertise at the end of the course.
Advanced Cyber Defence Training course. During the month of September 2018 participants from relevant agencies of the Republic of Azerbaijan participated in the two-week course taking place in Baku. The aim of the course was to provide the knowledge on operational cyber security and cyber security technology contents for ensuring cyber resilience, on the means for the global exchange of advanced cyber security concepts, best practices and experiences at the international level.
How to apply for NATO’s financial support for a scientific project
Further information on SPS Programme, its grant mechanisms and application is available on the website of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme: http://www.nato.int/science.