PERCEPTIONS Project at Nicosia Risk Forum 2020

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: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

 

During the sessions of the Nicosia Risk Forum 2020 the PERCEPTIONS projecthttps://project.perceptions.eu  was presented by ADDITESS LTD (www.Additess.com) .

 

PERCEPTIONS (Understand the Impact of Novel Technologies, Social Media, and Perceptions in Countries Abroad on Migration Flows and the Security of the EU & Provide Validated Counter Approaches, Tools and Practices) https://project.perceptions.eu  

The PERCEPTIONS project aims to identify and understand narratives, imaginations and (mis-)perceptions of the EU – held outside of Europe – and the way they are distributed via various channels. Furthermore, we investigate how the information flow might be distorted and how a mismatch of expectations and reality caused by certain narratives might lead to security threats.

The main objectives of the PERCEPTIONS project are to (1) identify narratives, images and perceptions of Europe abroad, (2) investigate how different narratives could lead to problems, unrealistic expectations, security threats or even radicalisation in what way; and (3) create toolkits of creative and innovative measures to react or even counteract on them, considering social, societal and structural aspects.

Previous research suggests that perceptions on Europe are formed in the country of residence, and they are based on a multitude of sources; and factors influencing migration are on different levels – from the overall socio-economic situation in a country to perceptions on educational opportunities and gender equality.

Social media and new communication networks, in addition, have increased the scope and the intensity of distribution of a variety of narratives; and furthermore, so-called filter bubbles and echo chambers can lead to one-sided narratives that go uncorrected. Due to new communication technologies, claims can take on a life of their own, and might raise unrealistic expectations or disapproval. At the same time, however, technologies and communication networks might also provide a channel to avoid a mismatch of expectation and reality and to promote the desired narratives. 

The agenda of the event can be found here.