September 28, 2020

ABCD 2020 Focuses on Strengthening Societal Resilience and Military Defence in Crises

At the Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) on 30 September, representatives from NATO, Allies and partners, as well as defence and security experts and reserve officers will examine the impact of the global COVID-19 crisis on defence and security policy, and consider how defence forces and reservists can be most effective in helping the civilian authorities in crises.

“Although the summer may have given the impression that the coronavirus has subsided, the numbers in recent weeks show the opposite to be true. The forces of NATO Allies have been able to assist the civilian authorities, for example, in distributing protective masks and organising transportation. It is clear that the assistance of the defence forces, reservists and volunteers will continue to be needed in the ongoing coronavirus crisis, but also in other crises. The main topic of the 14th ABCD is how this support and cooperation may be most efficiently provided,” explains Martin Hurt, Director of the ABCD 2020 at the International Centre for Defence and Security.

At the same time as the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant detrimental impact on the global economy and on our health systems, other security threats have not disappeared. “On the contrary, tensions in the Baltic region and around the Baltic Sea more broadly have increased,” Hurt notes. Another key topic of the conference is thus how to enhance NATO’s deterrence and defence against Russian aggression.

The ABCD 2020 “Strengthening Baltic Societal Resilience and Military Defence” will be opened by Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, and introduced by Jüri Luik, Minister of Defence of Estonia and João Gomes Cravinho, Minister of Defence of Portugal. The discussions will feature NATO Assistant Secretary General John Manza, Commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Jörg Vollmer, Commanding General U.S. Army Europe, General Christopher G. Cavoli, senior defence officials from the United Kingdom and Sweden, and Chair of the UK Reserve Forces 2030 Review, serving Reservist Brigadier The Lord Lancaster.

In the evening prior to the conference, guests will be welcomed by Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonia.

This year, the ABCD is organised by the International Centre for Defence and Security and the Ministry of Defence of Estonia, in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Confédération Interalliée des Officersiers de Réserve (CIOR). CIOR is the world’s largest representative organisation of reserve officers, with 1.3 million members in NATO countries.

The main sponsor of the ABCD 2020 is EuroSpike. Nammo, BAE Systems, DefSecIntel and Milworks are also supporting the conference.

The conference will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel Olümpia in Tallinn, but many speakers will speak via video platforms and most invited participants will follow the event virtually.


Media contact: Triin Oppi, Head of Communications, International Centre for Defence and Security, [email protected], +372 502 5120.

More information on the conference website.

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