global, multilateral and EU-related measures to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences
NATO’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
LAST UPDATED 20 july
NATO’s approach to countering disinformation: a focus on COVID-19
Both state and non-state actors have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to spread disinformation and propaganda, which seeks to destabilise and undermine Western societies. Over the last decade, a range of state actors, in particular, have developed and implemented digital marketing techniques, enhanced with both cyber and psychological operations. The objective is to create an alternative worldview designed to undermine democratic values.
State-controlled media, such as Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, use news stories that contain both true and false elements, which bypass people’s natural filters for detecting disinformation. Through organisations including the St Petersburg ‘troll factory’ – officially called the Internet Research Agency – Russia uses fake or automated accounts to spread information to amplify stories on social media and blogsites.
As the coronavirus crisis spread, communications from China evolved and became more assertive, in what has been dubbed ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy or ‘mask diplomacy.’ The objective appears to be two-fold: to dismiss any criticism of China’s response to the pandemic, and to promote China as a responsible global leader with a superior model of governance.
Coordination with partners and international institutions underpins both the Understand and Engage strands of NATO’s response to disinformation. It is particularly important when dealing with a rapidly evolving crisis such as COVID-19.
Coronavirus response: NATO scientists help Connecticut forecast the spread of COVID-19
NATO’s own laboratory, the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), based in La Spezia, Italy, is assisting the US state of Connecticut in its handling of the COVID-19 lockdown.
In collaboration with the University of Connecticut (UConn), the CMRE has developed a modelling capability to forecast the spread of COVID-19. The Centre’s scientists and the University’s professors are contributing to the work of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering Council, which is advising the Governor of Connecticut on strategies to "re-open" the state.
“The NATO Centre here in Italy has world-class scientists who can apply their expertise to new areas of science and assist Allies in combating the spread of the coronavirus,” said Dr. Catherine Warner, Director of the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation.
Coronavirus response: Turkey delivers critical medical aid to Afghanistan in response to global pandemic
On 11 June 2020, as part of Allied responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkey delivered around 75,000 protective masks and dozens of sets of medical equipment, including observation monitors, ventilators, oxygen regulators and concentrators, laryngoscopes, aspirators and aspirator kits, defibrillators, PCR machines, nebulizers and diagnostic test kits to the Afghan health authorities. These medical supplies are expected to be distributed to several Afghan provinces.
Coronavirus response: essential supplies airlifted to Poland
NATO - supported Strategic Airlift International Solution (SAIS) executed a mission to Wroclaw by bringing there 75 tonnes of equipment to Poland to help stem the spread of Covid - 19. Equipment include face masks and shields, masks - making machines, medical gloves and protecting clothing. In five months, it is the fifth request of Poland to NATO to supply medical equipment.
Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Baiba Braže joins a webinar on Resilience and Foresight
The ASG stressed that NATO has been working for many years to strengthen the resilience of Allies and make them more resistant to armed attacks, hybrid threats and even health pandemics. Now, with the COVID-19 crisis, “it’s clear that more work needs to be done”, said ASG Braže. She recalled the decisions NATO Defence Ministers took last April to bolster civil preparedness, based on the lessons from the crisis, and to work even closer with international partners – countries and organisations, including the European Union and the United Nations. To ensure that our nations and populations can better resist and recover from shocks, the ASG emphasized that “we all have to work together: people, countries, and institutions. Public and private sector. Military and civilian personnel.”
NATO Secretary General discusses impact of COVID-19 with military commanders
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Allied militaries have helped with logistics and planning, field hospitals, the transport for patients, repatriation of citizens abroad, disinfection of public areas, and at border crossings.
The Secretary General also discussed the importance of strengthening resilience through civil and military preparedness, and countering disinformation and propaganda.
NATO Defence Ministers will meet in June, and will discuss the Alliance’s response to the current crisis and take important decisions to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence.
United States and NATO provide additional critical assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina in tackling pandemic
These supplies were delivered in response to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s request for assistance through the Euro-Atlantic
Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), NATO’s principal disaster response mechanism.
This is another concrete demonstration of Allied unity of efforts in support to partners at a crucial time for the preservation of euro-atlantic security. It is also a pivotal contribution to strengthen the resilience of the national authorities and population of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
NATO Secretary General welcomes offers by the UK and the State of Qatar to provide airlift assets coordinated by EADRCC to support the UN’s COVID-19 outbreak response
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) issued a global call requesting that appropriate military and civil defence assets be made available for the transport of humanitarian and medical items needed in framework of the COVID 19 pandemic. NATO’s EADRCC responded on 15 May indicating the Alliance’s decision to support the request.
The Alliance’s assistance will be determined based on close coordination between UN OCHA, the EADRCC and the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE), as well as on the availability of airlift assets from NATO Allies and partners. The United Kingdom and the State of Qatar informed NATO on 15 May about their readiness to make available strategic airlift following the UN OCHA request, responding to a call for assistance by NATO’s Euro Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre’s (EADRCC).
NATO senior military talks with EU discussing military and cooperation on the pandemic
In his opening remarks Lieutenant General Pulkkinen emphasised that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic joint EU and NATO efforts to improve Military Mobility and complete the EUMS’ affiliation to the Federated Mission Networking initiative are ongoing. Specifically relating to the COVID-19 crisis he also commented that “the depth of cooperation reported at our staff-to-staff and structured dialogue on Medical Cooperation has been most impressive particularly regarding the efforts in exchanging information and harmonising medical advice. These are all testament to the continuing strong cooperation between the EUMS and NATO IMS staffs”.
Discussions turned to the COVID-19 crisis and how it has impacted on NATO and EU cooperation. Medical cooperation has deepened with the focus shifting as the pandemic evolved to rapid and frequent information exchange and where possible the harmonisation of medical advice including occupational medical advice and preparatory recommendations for missions and operations. The focus is now moving towards different topics, such as best practice examples for aeromedical information, evaluation and practicability of different test capabilities.
Under the Berlin Plus framework, a more extensive exchange and support for EUFOR Althea has been established enabling a more comprehensive and practical approach to the benefit of both the EU and NATO.
NATO Allies agree to support the UN OCHA for airlift assistance
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) issued a global call related to the ongoing global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, requesting that appropriate military and civil defence assets be made available for the transport of urgently needed humanitarian and medical items.
NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) responded to UN OCHA on Friday 15 May, indicating the Alliance’s decision to support the request. The Alliance’s assistance will be determined based on close coordination between UN OCHA, the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), as well as on availability of airlift assets from NATO Allies and partners.
The NATO Chiefs of Defence hold first virtual meeting in NATO Military Committee history - NATO Allies discuss NATO’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak
Discussion focused on military assistance and coronavirus response in Iraq as well as lessons to be learned for future pandemic scenarios.
After meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the 30 Chiefs of Defence reviewed NATO’s ongoing operational commitments, particularly the NATO Resolute Support Mission and the NATO Mission Iraq. The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Peach condemned the recent attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar. NATO supports the peace efforts by training, assisting and advising the Afghan security forces, through the Resolute Support Mission.
The Chiefs of Defence received an update on the ongoing NATO Mission Iraq which has been temporarily reduced for security reasons. Nonetheless, the mission is continuing to provide support to the Iraqi security forces and helping them deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The Allied Chiefs of Defence also discussed new avenues to contribute more to the security in the Middle-East and North Africa Region while remaining complimentary to existing efforts and with the support of local governments.
The final session of the day was dedicated to NATO’s Response to Covid-19. The Chairman of the EU Military Committee General Claudio Graziano briefed the NATO Chiefs of Defence on the EU’s support and relief efforts in this pandemic. Subsequently, the Allied Chiefs of Defence discussed existing NATO measures and support mechanisms as well as the medium term effects of this pandemic, including resilience and the lessons that could be implemented to better prepare for any future health crisis.
NATO continues close consultation with NATO Allies and the EU
Words from the Secretary General: “Regular consultations allow us to exchange information and best practice, identify needs and make offers of assistance. They also provide a forum for coordinating responses to state and non-state actors attempting to exploit the crisis, including with disinformation and propaganda. As Allies respond, we are stronger together. NATO will continue supporting the joint response to this crisis for as long as required.”
The NATO Allies’ coordination calls have addressed issues including repatriation of citizens abroad, mitigating the effects of border closures on global supply chains, efforts to develop vaccines and therapeutics, support for at-risk countries, and work to reenergize global growth and economic prosperity.
NATO Secretary General discusses the pandemic with EU defense ministers and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations
The Secretary General welcomed the close cooperation between NATO and the European Union, saying this is “more important than ever to help our respective members and partners, strengthen the resilience of our populations and fight disinformation”.
NATO is doing its part to support nations, including by airlifting supplies, sharing medical expertise, developing innovative responses, and deploying Allied militaries to support civilian authorities. Additionally, the Alliance remains fully committed to its mission of providing peace and security for their citizens.
Secretary General highlighted that, as NATO responds to the pandemic, it is also preparing for the long-term effects of COVID-19 and working to help Allies bolster their resilience.
NATO Allies, Partners, NGOs and local business work together to deliver medical assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina
U.S. Embassy Sarajevo’s Civil Military Support Element team and NATO provided critical supplies and disinfection equipment. The donation was made possible through support from the non-governmental organization Spirit of America and local BiH businesses.
As another demonstration of Euro-Atlantic solidarity in the COVID 19 crisis, NATO Partner Austria also delivered much needed medical assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina earlier this week.
NATO is launching a practical scientific project to develop new tools for a rapid and accurate diagnosis of COVID-19 infection
Within the framework of NATO’s SPS programme, the initiative’s goals include using a multidisciplinary approach (bringing together experts in the field of immunology, virology and molecular biology) to increase the speed and efficiency diagnosing the coronavirus infection.
The results foreseen from this project are expected to have a long-term impact on the international response to the spread of viruses on a large scale.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda on Tuesday (5 May 2020), as part of his regular political consultations.
The two leaders discussed NATO’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and how the Alliance continues to deliver strong deterrence and defence. The Secretary General underlined NATO’s commitment to Lithuania, including with a multinational battlegroup in Rukla, the Baltic Air Policing mission and maritime patrols in the Baltic Sea.
The Secretary General also welcomed Lithuania’s donations of medical supplies to Italy and Spain and support to partners, including Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. He praised the country’s contributions to NATO missions and commitment to defence spending.
The Secretary General and President Nausėda also discussed the importance of countering disinformation from state and non-state actors trying to sow divisions during the crisis. The Secretary General stressed that NATO will continue to work closely with Allies and partners to identify, expose, and counter disinformation.
North Atlantic Council Statement on Afghanistan
5. NATO encourages both sides to demonstrate good will by accelerating the release of prisoners, as a confidence building measure and to embrace the international community’s call for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire. The continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency of such measures. We call on the Taliban to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the Afghan people.
NATO mobilises its scientific network by sending out a challenge to the defense scientists to find solutions for virus detection, decontamination, and resilience for a post-COVID-19 world
NATO has tapped into its pool of defence scientists – the largest such network in the world - to support the COVID-19 emergency response.
The NATO Chief Scientist, Dr Bryan Wells, has just launched the “NATO Chief Scientist Challenge”, calling for solutions in virus detection, improved situational awareness, decontamination, resilience and the post-COVID-19 future. The Challenge was sent out to over 6000 scientists in NATO’s network. Proposals, from research articles to prototypes, are expected by the end of April. Working with NATO Allies, partners and staff, the Office of the Chief Scientist will help turn the best proposals into reality.
The NATO Science and Technology Organization supports the COVID-19 response in other ways as well. It has set up a classified collaborative platform where scientists from Allied and partner nations can share contributions to the crisis response. Exchange of knowledge and potential solutions is also facilitated by the NATO Collaboration Support Office in Paris, which coordinates relevant research, including virtual reality scenarios for emergency medical care, reducing the lifespan of viruses by treating surfaces and fabrics with polymer coating, laser testing of saliva samples, etc. Finally, NATO is using the capabilities of its own laboratory, the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation in La Spezia, which conducts new research in big data analytics, modelling and simulation for decision-making.
NATO Innovation Challenge focuses on COVID-19 crisis
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is the topic of the Spring 2020 Innovation Challenge, organised by the NATO Innovation Hub and the Dutch Ministry of Defence.
Looking for innovative solutions to identify false information and its effects on NATO operations, deliver logistics/supplies to isolated individuals/teams, and support the decision making of military leaders
The challenge, open to entrepreneurs, designers, inventors, engineers, scientists, coders, and others, is looking for innovative solutions to:
Support the decision-making of military leaders,
Deliver logistics and supplies to isolated individuals and teams,
Identify false information and mitigate its effects on NATO operations.
The Innovation Challenge aims to give NATO new, creative and efficient ways to respond to security challenges. The competition is run by the NATO Innovation Hub, led by Allied Command Transformation. There are two NATO Innovation Challenges every year.
#NATO Defence Ministers meet online today
1) immediate #COVID related assistance & help
2) prevention of escalation of health crisis into a security crisis
3) NATO adaptation for long term COVID impact
"We are countering these false narratives with facts and with concrete actions," Stoltenberg said. "We are also working even closer with allies and the European Union to identify, monitor and expose disinformation, and to respond robustly."
NATO cannot change its core responsibility to defend member states, but there are good reasons to look into how to further strengthen the cooperation between the civilian society combating a health crisis and military capabilities providing support to those civilian efforts, he said.
NATO’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
6 April 2020
NATO is a multilateral organization that was created to deal with crises. Is NATO playing its part in the COVID19 pandemic fight?
Allies work on identifying airlift capacity to ensure that medical supplies are delivered, coordinating on any surplus capacity or stocks, and better matching requests for support with offers from Allies and partners
There are many examples, including US medical deliveries to Italy, deliveries by the Czech Republic and Turkey to Spain and Italy, multinational cooperation to airlift crucial supplies to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania, and NATO’s delivery of field hospital tents to Luxembourg.
As part of the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), Allies and partner countries jointly own and operate three C-17 Globemaster heavy cargo aircraft, sharing flying hours and costs.
Allied aircraft on relief flights will be given a NATO Call Sign, and they will receive priority handling by Air Traffic Control in Europe - this was made possible thanks to close cooperation with EUROCONTROL, which handles the flow of all air traffic over Europe.
NATO Foreign Ministers addressed the challenge of disinformation and propaganda at their meeting on 2 April.
Allies are working together to ensure the public has transparent and timely information, which is critical to overcome this pandemic and to combat disinformation.
For more information, visit the following links:
Topic page on NATO’s response to COVID-19:
Fact sheet on NATO's response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
Declaration by NATO Foreign Ministers (2 April 2020):
Press conference by the Secretary-General after a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers (2 April 2020): https://bit.ly/3dRfpOl
Press conference by Secretary-General ahead of a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers (1 April 2020): https://bit.ly/3bOISXc
Press conference by Secretary-General on the release of his Annual Report 2019 (19 March 2020): https://bit.ly/2J9iHhM
Secretary-General's message of solidarity to NATO troops and staff (19 March 2020):
Secretary-General consults with foreign ministers about COVID-19 and upcoming meeting
“Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that the pandemic is a test for everyone and that NATO Allies stand in solidarity and continue to work together in responding to the crisis.”
NATO Allies take stock of response to COVID-19 outbreak
Further highlighted that mitigation measures were being taken, but the security of the NATO allies was the most important.
EXERCISE DEFENDER-EUROPE 20 ANNOUNCEMENT - COVID-19 IMPLICATIONS
“As of March 13, all movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to Europe has ceased.” “the linked exercises to Exercise Defender-Europe 20 - Dynamic Front, Joint Warfighting Assessment, Saber Strike and Swift Response - will not be conducted”
Global Arena Research Institute launches the "Beyond" Initiative
The global COVID-19 emergency emphasizes local and nation-based responses and national
collectivism in general. In the short term, it is understandable. The multilateral institutions (including the EU) were not devised with such a scenario in mind.
However, in the long run, going national and going local is not the way forward. Nation-states cannot win the fight against COVID-19 (or similar threats in the future) by themselves. Moreover, there is a mounting risk that such a nationalist bias will endure and last beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
GARI believes, instead, that it is imperative to look "beyond" the local and national horizons
As of today, GARI launches the initiative "Beyond" to stress this point. We are starting by tracking and highlighting global, multilateral and EU-related measures to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences. We believe that the COVID-19 coverage in the (social) media favours reporting on national measures and national policies and politics, thus further prompts nationalism as such.
Our subsequent goal is to follow on implementation and impact of these measures in a coherent and continuous manner.
Any suggestions, inputs or comments welcome (via FB messenger, LinkedIn or email )