16th Workshop of the PfP Consortium’s Study Group on Regional Stability in the South Caucasus

REICHENAU, Austria (12 November, 2017) - Berlin-based think tank Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC), jointly with Goettingen University and the Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sports have increased their partnership and cooperation to support the 9-12 November 2017 workshop of the PfP Consortium’s Study Group on Regional Stability in the South Caucasus (RSSC SG at https://pfp-consortium.org), championed by the Austrian National Defence Academy.

The DOC Research Institute and the Austrian National Defence Academy together with the PfP Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes shared travel and accommodation costs for the participants at the 16th RSSC SG workshop, which was held this November in Reichenau, Austria. The format and range of future cooperation are currently being negotiated. The parties are confident that they will promote long-term cooperation, which will make the RSSC SG ever more vibrant. The RSSC SG is a state-of-the-art track-two diplomacy platform designed to consider sensitive topics.

The Regional Stability in the South Caucasus Study Group is one of the crown jewels of the PfP Consortium. Two conferences per year have been organized since its re-launch in November 2012; one at Château Rothschild in Reichenau-on-the-Rax in November, and one in the extended South Caucasus region in the spring. Regional workshops have been held in Tbilisi, Istanbul, Kyiv, Chisinau and Varna. The RSSC SG workshops are co-chaired by Frederic Labarre (PfP Consortium) and George Niculescu (GPF-Europe).

The output of the RSSC SG is prodigious; each workshop yields a booklet of proceedings called Study Group Information of some 150-200 pages (https://pfp-consortium.org/index.php/publications/study-group-proceedings), and a much sought-after four-page Policy Recommendations bulletin. Each is distributed throughout the PfP Consortium’s network of defense and security education institutions, some 800 addresses in nearly 50 countries, including the capitals of the South Caucasus and to the headquarters of relevant international organizations, like NATO, the OSCE and the EU.

Such output has had significant policy repercussions already; following the receipt of policy recommendations from the 10th RSSC SG, an in camera meeting of deputy ministers of defense from the South Caucasus was held in Germany at the request of the US Ministry of Defense. Last November 2016, representatives from the OSCE voiced interest in creating a group to study the feasibility of implementing recommendations from the 14th RSSC SG.

The cooperation with DOC Research Institute and Goettingen University marks a first step in having non-governmental institutions share in the successes of the RSSC SG. It is hoped that this partnership will be renewed and will attract further interest from civil society, thereby increasing the chances of developing constructive solutions to the conflicts in the South Caucasus.