About Forum 2016
Critical energy infrastructure is the backbone of free and unhindered life and work, of the free movement of people, goods and ideas. If the IT infrastructure constitutes the foundation of all other critical infrastructure, energy infrastructure is a condition sine qua non for effective existence and use of all other infrastructures. In recent years, the level of threat to critical energy infrastructures has expended exponentially.
These include threats emanating both from state and non-state actors, cyber warfare, physical terrorist attacks, sabotage, or critical failures due to other conflict-related events. Also, it is necessary not to forget natural disasters as a source of possible significant negative impact to the energy infrastructure.
The purpose of the proposed forum is to bring together proven experts from several different, but interconnected, fields, to discuss with policy makers and security officials how best to deal with these emerging threats in their regional and European context. The forum is aimed at sharing best practice, case study analysis, policy options debate and the creation of a regional network of experts and officials in South Eastern Europe for critical energy infrastructure security. Expert knowledge, based on practical experience and the development of defensive strategies and policies, needs to be shared in order to be effective and useful for different countries. We want to enable a close knowledge-sharing process so that each segment could be, in an appropriate way, be involved in the effective protection of national energy infrastructures and with orientation to preventive actions. At the forum we will gather proven experts in the domain of government institutions dealing with preventive actions, experts from the private sector who are working on security of the energy related projects and infrastructure, scientists who can indicate the forms of possible threats, and the companies that are planning, designing, building, maintaining and managing energy infrastructures and energy transport. Since energy infrastructures of different countries in the region are so interconnected, so should the response be. In fact, today we cannot speak of 'national infrastructure' anymore but of regional energy infrastructures. With multidisciplinary approaches of experts with different experiences and from different but interconnected countries, will be very helpful for future planning and developing the security of energy infrastructure, on land or under the sea, gas or oil pipelines, electric power lines or ships.
At the forum we expect the presence of experts from the energy companies, as well as private companies and state institutions that are, in their work connected with planning, the building up, using and maintaining security and safety of energy infrastructure. In cooperation with Croatian Defence Academy and the universities involved, we intend to expand the awareness of those problems and to share necessary knowledge needed for effective preventive care as a goal that should be pursued.
Goals and Outcomes
The main goals of the proposed event are the sharing of knowledge, expertise, case study analysis, threat analysis and contingency policies and plans among the participants, all dealing with critical energy infrastructure protection and emergency response. The event will bring together policymakers, practitioners, experts and researchers to share best practices, plans and preparations, as well as actual crisis response activities. The outcome will be the expansion of knowledge and better decision-making in this area in the participating countries, better cooperation between policymakers and public officials of the different countries participating, and the creation of a network of experts and practitioners for future knowledge sharing and mutual assistance in actual crisis situations.
Security Relevance and Impact
Some of NATO's larger western European member states, as well as Israel, already put in place critical infrastructure protection strategies and energy crisis management plans. However, smaller South east European member states and NATO partner countries still lack comprehensive and realistic critical infrastructure contingency strategies and plans. Those countries are dependent even more than their northern European counterparts on limited energy sources and a less-developed electricity grid. The proposed event is therefore highly relevant to current and future threats, the development of national strategies and actual crisis management preparations. The impact of the event would be substantial, both in terms of policy formulation and implementation, and in terms of creating a network of experts and practitioners in South east European countries ready to cooperate on critical infrastructure protection issues and crisis management in actual events.