Assistant Secretary General for Scientific and Environmental Affairs
Good morning, Mr.Yakobashvili, ladies and gentlemen.
Let me first thank you, Mr.Yakobashvili, for your kind hospitality and I would also right at the beginning congratulate the organizers of this event particularly academician Belyaev and Steve Goldstein, and, if I may, Jean Paul Nadreau, because I know that it isn't simple thing to organize such a conference involving people from three different continents.
I'm very pleased and proud to be here with you at this workshop on computer networking. I'm very much impressed by the audience. I think it's pretty representative crossection of "Who is who in computer networking" on this 3 continents. I recognize familiar faces, but I also see some new faces, so I think it will be different from the regular travelling meeting of computer networking people who know each other very well and select different places. Here I think there is going to be a great deal of added value with this particular representation.
I don't need to be convinced of the importance of computer networking, as Mr. Yakobashvili. I absolutely believe that computer networking is completely essential, crucial to the development of the truly international scientific community and it's particularly important, as was emphasized by the minister, for Russia and the neighboring countries who need to integrate their scientific communities in the full international context.
I would like to say a few words about the context in which this workshop takes place and the role that NATO plays in this. Perhaps, I should apologize to some of you who may be quite familiar with this, but for some others it may be strange and some others may wonder what NATO has to do with computer networking.
This started with the events, that are known to everyone, less then 3 years ago when NATO began the process of cooperation with its former adversaries by creation the North Atlantic Cooperation Council which now has become familiar acronym NACC for some of us. This council consists of the 16 NATO members and 22 countries which were formerly members of the Warsaw pact. These 38 countries meet twice a year at the level of ministers of foreign affairs, but more of them on the level of ambassadors and it has now established tradition of approving an annual workplan for co-operation, so called NACC workplan. This workplan contains an important element of science and environment.
This scientific co-operation is governed by the extension of NATO science committee extended to contain representatives from the 22 cooperation partner countries.
This scientific co-operation is structured in 5 priority areas which were established after the extensive discussion with our partners. For example, in Russia with Minister Saltykov and Minister Yakobashvili' colleagues, especially academician Laverov and academician Koptyug. So there's been discussion on what were areas of best mutual interest of NATO and co-operation countries. Before I go on talking a little bit about each of these priority areas I would like to mention that more recently a new step in political co-operation has been achieved.
In the NATO summit in January "Partnership for peace" was offered to our co-operation partners. Most countries have signed this agreement, including Russia that signed it in June, and we're now developing with the countries specific bilateral co-operation programs, some of which may include also some elements of scientific cooperation.
But to go back about the 5 priority areas I would like, by your permission, to spend a little bit of time on each of them, so that you, as computer networking experts understand the kind of co-operations that your networking will support.
The first priority area deals with scientific problems related to disarmament technologies, for example, the question of "What to do with plutonium". This was discussed in January between specialists of NATO countries and Cooperative Partners countries, including Russia and Ukraine. What particularly discussed was the storage and disposition options for weapons with plutonium. And next month in Obninsk, in Russia, there will be a follow-on workshop that will more particularly focus on the so-called MOx technologies which are technologies of permanently denaturing and destructing plutonium. And many-many other activities take place in this particular area, for example, this summer in Erichi we had a meeting with directors of former secret laboratories in Russia and counterparts from Los-Alamos, Livermore, Comissaire l'Energie Atomique, and so on. These people, who previously only knew of their existence from Intelligence Service files started to talk to each other, meet and then come up with concrete co-operation plans on specific scientific topic, something that would not have been envisaged, imaginable 3 years ago.
Second area - environment, most particularly defense-related environment problems, where crucial problem is the cleaning the environmental legacy of the cold war. Last week I had the privilege of meeting minister Danilov-Danilyan and he told me that in some areas here the military have done so much damage and lit so much oil that former military bases can be used as oil fields to pump oil from them. We had recently co-organized a workshop in Barnaul in Siberia, where academician Koptyug played the great supportive role, to study the effects of atmospheric nuclear tests, radiation effect of these tests on the population, while they took place. So there's a lot of data that was formerly secret, which was disclosed-data from Russia, U.S., China, Kazakhstan. You can imagine the importance of sharing this kind of data between the participants.
The third priority area deals with high technology. It includes many topics in biotechnology, material science, computer science, electronics and so on. I think just about this time in Sofia, Bulgaria, we're having Advanced Study Institute, studying properties and applications of low-dimensional semi-conductive structures.
I think that the common thread between these areas of scientific cooperation between NATO and Partners is scientific subjects that are linked or support the process of conversion from defence-oriented scientific systems to market-oriented economic scientific systems.
And this is also true for the 4th area which deals with questions of science policy and management in general. This is crucial, because, for example, in Russia the system has to move from a rather top-down system to the system that is more oriented to the market needs and so, scientific policy. This is a problem we have discussed with Mr. Yakobashvili. Number of questions related to that, including intellectual property rights. This question was not so important before, but in the context of market economy this is a crucial question, and there will be NATO workshop in Moscow next week on this very issue of intellectual property rights and many other activity but I'm just trying to give you a feeling for the sort of cooperation which is taking place.
Then, the fifth area, and I am now coming to the core of the subject of this workshop, is computer networking. It is slightly different in nature from the other areas, because in this particular area the emphasis is on the enforcement of the infrastructure available to scientists working in the other areas and mot on the fundamental research done in the particular field of computer networking.
So in order to keep this essentially catalytic nature of the NATO activities in this particular area of computer networking, the activities are focused on 2 lines:
One, which I would simplify by saying it is a top-down approach, is the organization of policy workshops to share experiences between NATO and Cooperation Partner countries about the respected computer network policies and about what to do together. This is the second workshop of this kind. The first one took place in Budapest last October and I'll come back to it in a minute because it was very important event.
The second aspect of cooperation in computer networking is more of the bottom-up approach and that is the provision of concrete support in terms of equipment or a linkage to networks to facilitate electronic communication to selected projects that are in the priority areas of cooperation that I mentioned before.
I'd like to take an example of such project which needs trans-boundary communication linkages - that is a project on the Black Sea, part of a NATO science program. This project is undertaking to model the ecosystem of Black Sea region in co-operation between Black Sea neighboring countries - in more or less clockwise manner - Bulgaria, Rumania, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey and you will have noticed that I didn't mention one country, because Georgia is not yet participating in this project. I think that there's Georgian representatives at this seminar so perhaps this lack will be remedied in the course of the workshop. Success of the Black Sea Project is critically depends on the quality of the exchanges of information, data and so on between the various institutes which are involved in this project. And in fact, we have just awarded a great to the project to establish network linking these institutes. That's an example of networks that could be thought of in the forming network infrastructure grants. This is a new mechanism, as was just decided at the last Science Committee meeting and such networking infrastructure grants could be used to support this type of wide area networks. Some ideas about the particular regions that could be covered by such networks might be came out of this workshop. Details about how to prepare proposal will be covered later on during the workshop. Dr.Nadrean will talk about it and you will be able to get clarifications from him.
Now, to return to the first, top-down, approach I want to spend just a few minutes to recall the first workshop that took place last year in Budapest and thank the organizers of this workshop whom I can see here - Dr. Kalin an Dr.Bakonyi. It was a very good workshop and was a very successful workshop that came up with quite a few concrete results. For instance, I believe that at the last INET meeting there was an announcement made by Mr.Vondrachek, Vice-Minister of education of Czech Republic - he was happy to announce the development of computer network in the Czech Republic in line with the commitment that he had made at the Budapest workshop.
Another project that came out was a workshop on training network managers. This was one of the recommendations made at the Budapest workshop. It was implemented very rapidly in the context of the INET conference in Prague where network managers training workshop took place and considered various topics that need to be considered: network monitoring, resource distribution and so on.
Another project which emerged as a result of the discussion at this workshop was a creation of computer and telecommunication directory for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This was discussed during the workshop, presented to NATO for support and subsequently approved. The grant which was approved associates by Partner countries: Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Baltics, Ukraine, Rumania, Russia - going more or less from North to South in the enumeration - and co-director from France, which I am particularly proud of.
Also at the NATO Budapest workshop there was a network planning group formed which came up with a new acronym - CEENET association to discuss and coordinate networking integration in Central and Eastern Europe.
I personally believe, especially taking into account that this was the first workshop of its kind, that the results obtained at that workshop will set very high standards for the present workshop. But I am completely confident that you will be up to the challenge and that you will come up with as many fruitful and concrete ideas and projects as we conceived last year.
I've just being told that the invitation has been developed in Kazakhstan to hold a follow-on workshop in Central Asia next year, for which I'm very grateful and this will be an opportunity to see whether the results of this workshop next year will be as successful as we can see Budapest results this year. So with this in mind, I really give you my best wishes to success and thank you for your attention.