Transnational security threats – cross-border, generally non-military threats to national and international security – are a byproduct of the globalized world. Trafficking in drugs, arms, and people, nuclear proliferation, the spread of terrorism and piracy and the associated illicit financial flows are only some of the issues that straddle the border between international and domestic security policy. Unlike traditional "hard" security challenges, many transnational security threats have not yet elicited the same concerted international efforts to tackle them.
Given the fact that transnational security threats know no borders, efforts to address them effectively require close exchange and cooperation between states and relevant non-state actors alike. With its new series on Transnational Security, the MSC aims to gather decision-makers and experts from academia and the private sector to discuss strategies that may help counter transnational security threats.
As part of the Transnational Security Series, the MSC organizes numerous events, which vary in size.
MSC Roundtables are intimate, off-the-record gatherings of no more than 40 participants, taking place throughout the year at the sidelines of high-level international events around the world. The topics of discussion reflect current debates and challenges to transnational security and attract high-ranking representatives from governments, academia, militaries, the private sector, and civil society.
In addition to the events specifically dedicated to the topic, transnational security issues play an important role in all MSC activities. The MSC stages panel discussions as well as a growing number of side events on transnational security issues at the annual flagship conference in Munich and at the MSC's Core Group Meetings. Both the Core Group Meeting in Minsk in 2018 and the Munich Security Conference 2019 featured roundtables on transnational threats. Further, the MSC covers transnational security in its publications, with a chapter on transnational organized crime in the 2019 edition of the annual Munich Security Report, and its new Transnational Security Report "Cooperating Across Borders: Tackling Illicit Flows".
On February 16, on the sidelines of its annual main conference, the MSC hosted a Roundtable on Transnational Security in partnership with PMI Impact. More than 30 participants from politics, international organizations, law enforcement, NGOs, academia, and the military gathered to engage in an off-the-record dialogue.
The event in Munich further deepened the discussions kicked off at the MSC's first Transnational Security Roundtable in Minsk by focusing in particular on illicit flows of money, goods, and people across borders. Notably, participants discussed the amalgamation of a variety of illicit cross-border flows, from drugs and arms smuggling to human trafficking, and their destabilizing consequences for the regions in question. Of special interest to those who discussed efforts to reduce illicit flows was the need for cooperation between governments, law enforcement agencies, international organizations and the private sector. While these actors may focus on different types of illicit flows depending on their mission, participants agreed that comprehensive solutions must involve effective collaboration between all of them. Furthermore, rather than focusing on combatting a single type of illicit flow, participants suggested that future efforts should focus on the overarching networks, routes, and places that facilitate illicit trade in the first place.
The official kick-off for the MSC's activities on transnational security took place on the sidelines of the 2018 MSC Core Group Meeting in Minsk, where the MSC convened a Transnational Security Roundtable on October 31. Organized in partnership with PMI Impact and held off the record to enable a frank discussion, the roundtable provided an overview of the various transnational security challenges in Eastern Europe.
Drawing on the expertise of 30 high-level participants both from Eurasian Economic Union and European Union countries, important topics of discussion included organized crime and terrorism, illicit financial flows, as well as the impact of technology on licit and illicit flows of drugs, weapons, and people.