45 participants from 15 countries attended the first joint COST - NATO strategic expert meeting that was held on 6 and 7 November 2006. The NATO Science for Peace and Security programme (SPS) and COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) both cover a wide range of research topics and have many similarities. Therefore it was decided to organise a joint Strategic Expert Meeting on Food Security and Simulation. Food and water supply security and safety are very important issues. This highly interdisciplinary theme provides further many links to different policies.
This Strategic Expert Meeting aimed at a better understanding of the gaps in the scientific understanding and interpretation which should be improved as a matter of research priority in the nearest future. This is a matter of urgency to be prepared for potential and predictable threats to the food and water supply chains. It is further of great importance to establish the scientific background to improve our societies to sustain security in these fundamental aspects of our lives.
In addition the meeting addressed questions related to the security of the supply chain. Recent conflicts as well as connected economic and societal developments on this globe induce changes of priorities in the research communities. Simulation is a tool to gain insight in complex processes to maintain control in case things go wrong. Security issues are of general concern and require new and broad scientific approaches.
The participants, representing a multitude of activities of both organisations, concluded that the results of this first meeting are very positive and further joint efforts should be encouraged. Exchanges on targeted subjects or organising common educational events for young scientists and public administrations could be interesting topics for such conferences. "One of the main achievements of this meeting is the fact that for the first time COST experts and NATO specialists in the field met directly in an organised frame to discuss the topic. This is a significant success,“ said Dr Deniz Betten from the NATO Headquarter in Brussels.
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