Nicosia Risk Forum is an innovative event for the area of South-Eastern Europe, which brings together academic, industrial, governmental, policy, and other societal stakeholders with a significant interest in societal safety. Nicosia Risk Forum 2020 was organized under the auspices of HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Dr. Nikos Christodoulides. Understandably, due to Co-Vid19 restrictions, #NRF2020 took place virtually on the 26th of November 2020.
This year’s theme of #NRF2020 focused on “Regional Collaboration in Societal Safety”. The Covid-19 pandemic and its severe worldwide implications have proven once more that the inherent risks of our increasingly complex and interconnected world significantly challenge the implementation of fundamental societal functions. As disasters have always been and will always be part of our lives, the way societies respond to them is certainly of critical importance. However, preventing such disasters from occurring, preparing for their possible occurrence, and mitigating their potential effects, is a matter of life and death. In these testing times, higher-level initiatives faced challenges in delivering solutions. Regional initiatives can provide support, much needed, at times of crises. Traditional manmade and natural disasters will continue to occur, coupled with the risks brought-on by the pandemic; societal safety and national security become an absolute necessity and regional collaboration a supporting net.
Man-made and natural catastrophes know no borders and the aim of this year’s #NRF2020 is to be the catalyst for the creation of a regional network of governmental organizations, research groups, universities, and research organizations interested in promoting societal safety.
The Covid-19 pandemic and its severe worldwide implications have proven once more that the inherent risks of our increasingly complex and interconnected world significantly challenge the implementation of fundamental societal functions. As disasters have always been and will always be part of our lives, the way societies respond to them is certainly of critical importance. However, preventing such disasters from occurring, preparing for their possible occurrence, and mitigating their potential effects, is a matter of life and death.
The 2020 version of the Nicosia Risk Forum took a radical position, summarized in the following statement: “the next pandemic WILL happen, sooner or later”. It is therefore now the right time to analyze the lessons learned from the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and use our experience to discuss the preparedness measures which should be implemented in order to mitigate risks and reduce the effects of the next pandemic. Furthermore, the Forum did not restricted this analysis and discussion to the case of Cyprus, but it assumed a Regional View, focusing on existing cooperation aspects and the need for the development of novel mechanisms that will facilitate the exchange of communication and good practices between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
The Nicosia Risk Forum 2020 hosted an impressive array of stakeholders who offered their views on its main theme of the Forum.
First and foremost, we are honored to announce that Dr. Nikos Christodoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, will deliver the closing Keynote Speech of the Forum on the topic of “Regional Collaboration in Societal Safety“.
Other Speakers of great importance were:
- Ms Paraskevi Micho, Director General, DG ECHO
- Mr Nikos Hardalias, Deputy Minister of Crisis Management and Civil Protection, Hellenic Republic
- Dr Christos Dimas, Deputy Minister of Research and Development, Hellenic Republic
- Dr Nikolas Mastrogiannopoulos, Chief Scientist, Republic of Cyprus
- H.e. Mrs. Claude el Hajal, Ambassador, Lebanese Republic
- Brig. Gen. (res.) Yoram Laredo, Head of NEMA, State of Israel
- Brigadier Anwar Altarawaneh, Director of Civil Defense, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
- Mr Kyriacos Hadjigeorgiou, Interim Director Civil Defense Cyprus
BORDERUAS (Semi-autonomous border surveillance platform combining next generation unmanned aerial vehicles with ultra-high-resolution multi-sensor surveillance payload) . The project will combine for the first time a multi-role lighter-than-air (LTA) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with an ultra-high resolution multi-sensor surveillance payload supporting border surveillance as well as search & rescue applications, and specifically rough terrain detection. The sensor payload will include synthetic aperture radar (SAR), laser detection and ranging (LADAR), shortwave/longwave infrared (SWIR/LWIR) and acoustic cameras for direct target detection, as well as optical and hyperspectral cameras for indirect detection (via vegetation disturbance).
The project will use the ground-based infrastructure of border police units (command & control centres), where several components will be demonstrated: novel ground based LADAR sensors (to complement aerial coverage), innovative data models (to identify illegal crossing patterns and preferred routes) and advanced audio/video analytics and storage (to provide additional detection capabilities).
The technology concepts will be validated in the field by 6 border police units (Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus) covering 3 major illegal migration routes into Europe (Eastern Mediterranean, Western Balkan and Eastern Borders Routes), which represent 58% of all illegal border crossings detected and are also the most used for smuggling of drugs, weapons and stolen vehicles. The combined solution will provide high coverage, resolution and revisit time with a lower cost (4 EUR/kg/hr) than satellites and higher endurance (100 kg payload for 12 hours) than drones.
Based on the field trial results, the consortium expects to develop a solution that can be deployed further by European border polices after project completion. The project will also involve the contribution of NGOs working with illegal migration and human right protection issues, as well as regulatory experts dealing with the ethics and privacy requirements of border surveillance solutions.
The agenda of the event can be found here.