Sunday 14 November 2010 - Summary of the meeting of the Science and Technology Committee
Conference Room, Hotel of Deputies, the Sejm and Senate of the Republic of Poland, Warsaw, Poland
I. Opening remarks
1. The Chairman, Jan Arild Ellingsen (NO), Vice-Chairman and Acting Chairman, opened the meeting of the Science and Technology Committee and regretted that the Committee Chairman Michael Mates (UK) had decided to retire from his position in the British Parliament and hence would not be a member of NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) any longer. Furthermore, he thanked the Polish delegation for their outstanding job in preparing the NATO PA Annual Session in
2. Both, the draft Agenda [222 STC 10 E] and the Summary of the Meeting of the Science and Technology Committee held in Riga, Latvia, on Sunday 29 May 2010 [159 STC 10 E] were adopted unanimously.
3. The Chairman explained the procedure for submitting amendments to the draft Resolution Partnering with Russia on WMD Security and Missile Defence [245 STC 10 E] by David Scott (US), General Rapporteur.
II. Presentation by H.E. Ambassador Jacek Bylica, Head of NATO WMD Non-Proliferation Centre on NATO’s Policies and Activities in the field of WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
4. H.E. Ambassador Jacek Bylica began by discussing the current policies in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Facing a new security environment, NATO adopted a Comprehensive, Strategic-Level Policy for Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Defending against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Threats in 2009. Its four major messages were the following: first, the
5. In terms of practical co-operation in the field of WMD arms control, disarmament and non‑proliferation, the Ambassador pointed at NATO’s WMD Non-Proliferation Centre’s annual conferences (the last one was held in May 2010 in Prague, the next one would be held in Bergen in June 2011) and the last CBRN Workshop with participants from various NATO member and non-member states. Currently, the Centre plans to organize a workshop on the role of parliaments in the field of WMD arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation together with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
6. Finally, when talking about NATO’s future nuclear policy, M. Bylica suggested that the
7. After the presentation, a British delegate asked about the new
III. Presentation by Lukasz Kulesa, Deputy Director, Strategic Analyses Department, National Security Bureau, on Missile Defense: A View from
8. In the beginning, M. Kulesa explained the difference between the “old” and the “new”
9. M. Kulesa suggested that MD could become a “new glue” for the
10. The current
11. The Chairman asked M. Kulesa how the Polish people would perceive a prospective MD shield. He responded that the earlier MD proposal – widely perceived as more controversial – enjoyed the support of roughly 1/3 of the Polish population. The public support has increased, however, in the wake of the armed conflict between
12. A Russian delegate noted that
IV. Consideration of the Draft General Report Nuclear/WMD Proliferation and Missile Defence: Forging a Strategic Partnership with
13. M. Scott introduced the draft General Report by presenting its main idea: a genuine partnership between NATO and
14. Furthermore, the co-operation framework could also include biological and chemical security as well as missile non-proliferation and missile defense. Building up MD systems would not contradict the vision of Global Zero, M. Scott pointed out. It would be a second line of defence as long as the non-proliferation system was not robust enough and not every nation would seriously engage on the path down to Global Zero.
15. Finally, the General Rapporteur presented the updates that were made to the draft report since the Spring Session in Riga, e.g. on the ratification of the New START by the US Senate and the Russian Duma or the new round of sanctions against Iran.
16. A Lithuanian delegate questioned the prospect of NATO-Russian co-operation without the same base of values. A member from
17. Furthermore, a Lithuanian delegate called into question the feasibility of Global Zero. A Russian delegate noted that the concept of Global Zero should not be regarded as absolutist and immovable. For instance, he argued that nuclear weapons might be used to destroy large asteroid that could collide with the Earth. A German delegate doubted that development of missile defence systems, that will never be completely reliable, could actually contribute to the Global Zero vision. In his response, the Rapporteur reiterated his position that a long-term vision was indispensable for co‑operation and the success of the New START would constitute an important step forward. Co‑operation on the basis of trust and verification would be the key. The Chairman has suggested including a paragraph on disarmament verification and confidence building measures and gave an example of the 2007 UK-Norwegian agreement in this area. The Rapporteur agreed to make respective amendments in his report.
18. The draft General Report on Nuclear/WMD Proliferation and Missile Defence: Forging a Strategic Partnership with Russia [223 STC 10 E] was adopted with minor changes.
V. Presentation by Avi Schnurr, President, The Electric Infrastructure Security (EIS) Council, on Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and related risks to Critical Infrastructures
19. Avi Schnurr informed the Committee Members about a potentially immense, but not yet sufficiently acknowledged threat posed by Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) strikes. They could either occur in a natural way in the form of solar flares or by nuclear detonations above the atmosphere. EMPs could cause major electronic blackouts with immeasurable damage to country’s electronic grids with severe consequences for their extremely vulnerable infrastructure (computers, financial systems, etc.). M. Schnurr suggested that electricity could be out for months or years because the grid would need to be assembled completely anew since its components would melt.
20. On the positive side, many studies on that phenomenon had been conducted in the recent years by US official bodies, and the dangers were now better understood and preventable by upgrading and protecting national electric grids. On the political level awareness of electric infrastructure security had risen and an inaugural summit was taking place in
21. Having been asked if the urgency of the EMP threat was well understood, M. Schnurr answered that it would be a relatively new subject and democracies would usually tend to respond only after being hit by a catastrophe and not in advance. However, the potential damage of a severe EMP strike was too significant to ignore preventive measures, M. Schnurr warned.
VI. Consideration of the Draft Report of the Sub-Committee on Energy And Environmental Security: A Sustainable Energy Strategy for the
22. Philippe Vitel (FR) introduced the major tenets of the Sub-Committee’s report. As energy security constituted a contended topic within the
23. The Rapporteur underscored the importance of linking environmental issues and “green” energy production to this topic. From a strategic point of view, M. Vitel said, this would make NATO member countries less dependent on external energy supplies. He called for the reformation of our energy and environment policies based on energy efficiency and the development of environmental-friendly sources of energy. Subsequently, Committee members discussed the issues of protecting energy infrastructure and the link between conflicts, poverty and energy supply.
24. The draft report on A sustainable Energy Strategy for the
VII. Consideration of the Draft Special Report Climate Change: Post-Copenhagen Challenges [225 STC 10 E] by Pierre Claude Nolin (
25. Andrzej Galazewski (PL) introduced the report by referring to the wake-up call caused by the heat-induced wildfires in
26. However, the necessity to contain the consequences of climate change, M. Galazewski said, would come at an inopportune time. The global economic and financial crisis and the lack of political will by some countries would constitute obstacles to further progress in this field. The report, based on the results of the 2007 IPCC Report among other sources, assessed the Copenhagen Conference and the prospects for a future Post-Kyoto treaty with legally binding emission reduction targets. There is a long list of obstacles that render reaching an international and legally binding climate treaty in 2010 an almost impossible task. Other avenues, such as national, regional or more targeted programmes need to be explored. That said, the report urges to keep pushing for a post-Kyoto treaty. It is important to keep this objective on the agenda because the process of negotiations is valuable in itself. It could help to achieve at least some tangible progress in specific areas, such as clarifying the functioning of specific mechanisms dealing with financial support, technology transfer, national progress verification, and deforestation.
27. M. Galazewski ended his speech by underlining the potential of NATO member states to lead in the field of emission reduction, particularly in regards of the European’s commitment to reduce them by 30% by 2020. In the subsequent discussion, the Turkish members expressed their disappointment in the results of the Copenhagen Summit and believed that the report should not have focused on it. However, the British, American, French and Canadian delegates suggested that the analysis of failures was necessary and that the draft report assessed the
28. The draft Special Report on Climate Change: Post-Copenhagen Challenges [225 STC 10 E] was unanimously adopted without modification.
VIII. Consideration of Amendments and vote on the Draft Resolution Partnering with Russia on WMD Security and Missile Defence [245 STC 10 E] by David Scott (
29. General Rapporteur David Scott introduced briefly the Resolution on Partnering with
30. The draft Resolution Partnering with Russia on WMD Security and Missile Defence [245 STC 10 E], as amended, was adopted.
IX. Election of Committee and Sub-Committee Officers
31. The Chairman announced the procedure for election of Committee and Sub-Committee Officers for 2010-2011. All re-eligible Committee and Sub-Committee Officers were re-elected
32. The following candidates were elected by acclamation:
Science and Technology Committee
Chairman: Jan Arild Ellingsen (NO)
Vice Chairpersons: Andrezej Galazewski (PL) and Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale (
Sub-Committee on Energy and Environmental Security
Vice-Chairperson Luisa Salgueiro (PT)
Ukraine-NATO Interparliamentary Council
Full members Jan Arild Ellingsen (NO) and Mario Tagarinski (BG)
Alternate member Philippe Vitel (FR)
X. Committee’s and Sub-Committee’s activities in 2011
33. The Sub-Committee Chairman Mario Tagarinski spoke briefly about the Sub-Committee the visits to Kyiv and
34. The up-coming general report will address how to counter threats posed by biological and chemical substances, the Sub-Committee will prepare a report on the nexus between water, food and security, and the Special Rapporteur will prepare a report on military technology in counterinsurgency operations.
XI. Any other business, date and place of next meeting, closing remarks
35. The Committee was closed until its next meeting in