YPFP NATO Series 2023 – The Strategic Concept and NATO’s Next Decade

panel nato

Main takeaways:  

  • The 2022 Strategic Concept describes the security environment facing the Alliance, reaffirms its values, and spells out NATO's key purpose of ensuring collective defence for its Allies. 
  • In adherence to the Strategic Concept, NATO is adapting to meet the unique security demands of different regions. These regions include the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA), the Sahel, South-East Asia and the Caucasus. 
  • Political dialogue and practical cooperation with partners, based on mutual respect and benefits, contribute to stability beyond NATO’s borders, enhance security and support NATO’s core tasks.

On 5 October 2023, YPFP Brussels, in partnership with NATO, organised a panel and discussion group event on NATO’s Strategic Concept. The panel consisted of Steffen Elgersma and Alicia Ambos from NATO Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, Marie Brethous from the EU Institute for Security Studies, Miriam Maurizi from the YPFP Security & Defence Team, and Jonas Nitschk from the YPFP Programmes Team. The panel was moderated by YPFP Brussels Security & Defence Officer, Louis Bout.

The event opened with a panel discussion where the speakers gave an overview of the security situation across different regions, including MENA, the Sahel, South-East Asia and the Caucasus. Each speaker underlined how the Strategic Concept spells out NATO’s key purposes and provides a framework for NATO to address crisis situations but also to engage with partners across the world. Political dialogue and practical cooperation with partners, based on mutual respect and benefit, contribute to stability beyond NATO’s borders, enhance security and support NATO’s core tasks. Partnerships are crucial to protect the global commons, enhance our resilience and uphold the rules-based international order. Examples of partnerships include the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, that aim to contribute to security and stability in the wider Mediterranean region, and promote good relations and understanding among participating countries and NATO Allies.

The second part of the event saw the participants engage in interactive discussions with the speakers, after being assigned to four subgroups, each dedicated to a regional topic. This allowed them to ask questions and share opinions with practitioners in an informal setting. An innovative approach to traditional panel discussions, this event format allowed the participants to express their own views on the subject, test their knowledge, and debate the ideas in small groups, overseen by the subject matter experts. This approach encouraged young people to think critically about the topic and actively engage with the ideas of the panelists. Meanwhile, for the panelists it was a great opportunity to listen to the opinions of young people and understand their worldview and the topics they are passionate about. It was an event that promoted cross-generational dialogue and active youth engagement in security and defence topics.

Written by Matteo Tomasina, Director of Security and Defence, YPFP Brussels