The second thematic platform of the Conference will be devoted to the discussions of the security issues of the Black Sea region. The participants of the panel will focus on region’s key political and military challenges, as well as its economic and energy potential.

Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula gave Moscow an opportunity to change the strategic balance of power in the Black Sea region in its favor. Intensive militarization of the region, the build-up of the so-called A2/AD (Anti-Access/Area-Denial) zone in the theatre of the operations challenges NATO’s naval power projection capabilities in the Black Sea as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean. Russia’s enhanced military posture in the Black Sea, coupled with rising tensions between Turkey and Russia have negative implications for the security environment of the region. Taking into account this geopolitical landscape, the panel participants will evaluate current security threats, put military challenges into perspective and discuss NATO’s comprehensive strategy towards the Black Sea.

In parallel with the security challenges, speakers will highlight the strategic importance of the Black Sea region and its potential in ensuring European energy security. They will discuss the critical energy linkages and ambitious economic initiatives in the implementation of which Georgia, as a logistics hub, should play a significant role. The panel participants will also underline the importance of growing involvement of emerging actors (Iran, China) in cross-regional economic and security dynamics.