Munich Security Conference in its 55th Session Remains the Leading Global Forum on Security
Updated: Oct 2, 2019
New York: Over the course of the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) has developed into the world’s leading forum for the debate of international security policy. Each February, it brings together more than 450 senior decision-makers and thought-leaders from around the world to engage in an intensive debate on current and future challenges. Repeatedly rated as "Best Think Tank Conference" in the world, the MSC provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to discuss policy at the highest level in a protected and informal space. (Munich Security Conference 2019 Report)
High on the agenda of the MSC 2019 (February 15-17) as the uropean Union's self-assertion, transatlantic cooperation, as well as possible consequences of a renewed era of great power competition. "When looking at the current state of international affairs, it is difficult to escape the feeling that the world is not just witnessing a series of smaller and bigger crises, but that there is a more fundamental problem. Indeed, we seem to be experiencing a reshuffling of core pieces of the international order. A new era of great power competition is unfolding between the United States, China, and Russia, accompanied by a certain leadership vacuum in what has become known as the liberal international order," said MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger ahead of the upcoming conference. Additionally, experts from across the globe will discuss the future of arms control and cooperation in defense policy. The intersection between trade and international security will be examined, as will the effects of climate change and technological innovations on the international security.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be present again, after last attending in 2017. Among the numerous other heads of state and heads of government that have announced their attendance are Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi. The same is true for Yang Jiechi, Member of the 19th Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroschenko, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The MSC 2019 is also anticipating the largest US delegation of all time. From the United States, Vice President Mike Pence and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan have confirmed their participation. The US Congressional Delegation will be led by Senators Lindsey O. Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, Roger F. Wicker, James Inhofe, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Other confirmed participants include Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, Christine Lagarde, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Kristalina Georgieva, Acting President of the World Bank. Numerous foreign and defense ministers have confirmed their participation. From Germany, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen will be present alongside over 40 other foreign and defense ministers from the EU and NATO. Russia's, Iran's, Iraq's, and Qatar's foreign ministers Sergey Lavrov, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Mohamed Ali Al-Hakim, and Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani will attend. Their counterparts from Pakistan and the Philippines will also be present. Among the defense ministers expected in Munich are British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson, French Defense Minister Florence Parly, Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, and Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, as well as Hulusi Akar, Defense Minister of Turkey, and Tiémoko Sangaré, his Malian counterpart. The German federal government will also be represented at the Conference by Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmeier, Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Health Minister Jens Spahn and Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner. In addition, more than 45 members of the Bundestag from all parliamentary groups will be in attendance. A multitude of international organizations will also be represented at MSC 2019. Thomas Greminger, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of Interpol, and Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, have announced their participation. Also participating are Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Henrietta H. Fore, CEO of the United Nations Children's Fund, and David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program. The International Criminal Court will be represented by its President Chile Eboe-Osuji, and its Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bom Bensouda. All told, more than 35 heads of government and heads of state, as well as 50 foreign and 30 defense Ministers are expected to be present.
In 2019, the debates of the main program will again be accompanied by more than one hundred complementary side events. This includes, among others, roundtables on cyber security, the Arctic, energy, health, transnational threats, technology and European defense. Many international institutions and organizations, including the United Nations, the African Union, the OSCE and NATO, use the MSC as a platform for roundtable discussions and workshops. These bring together international decision-makers from various fields or discuss the latest research findings on current issues in international security policy. Beyond the events reserved for the MSC’s high-level participants, events for the general public will also be offered on the side-lines of the Conference. These include a joint literature series with the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, several events on technology and cyber issues, and an event with the Munich Chamber Orchestra. On the eve of the conference, the MSC invites the interested public to its event titled "#MSC2019 – From Cold War to Star Wars: How to Deal With the Arms Race to Space?" at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Once again, the MSC will serve as a platform for a large number of foreign and security policy events by renowned NGOs and institutions. For example, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the German Corporation for International Cooperation, Transparency International, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the Royal United Services Institute, and the Atlantic Council will host roundtable discussions on the alongside the conference.