Boundless Crises, Limited Capabilities – the Weakness of the International Order will be at the Heart of the Debates at the 52nd Munich Security Conference

From February 12 to 14, Munich will again host some of the most important decision-makers in the realm of international security policy: Around 600 leaders will gather for the 52nd Munich Security Conference (MSC), chaired by Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, to debate current crises and future challenges to international security.

The Hotel Bayerischer Hof, once again venue of the Munich Security Conference (Photo: MSC / Kleinschmidt).

This year's MSC – which has been named the best "Think Tank Conference" in the world by the recent "Global Go To Think Tank Index" at the University of Pennsylvania – will welcome around 30 heads of state and government and over 70 foreign and defense ministers.


Among the key topics of this year's MSC 2016 are Europe's response to the refugee crisis, the war in Syria, and the future of the European security order. Stability in Sub-Saharan Africa and arms control in cyber space are also on the agenda. For the first time, there will be a session on the dangers of epidemics for global stability and security, jointly organized with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Merck. The detailed conference program with topics and speakers will be announced shortly before the start of the MSC.


King Abdullah II of Jordan, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, US Foreign Minister John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are some of the senior participants to attend the 52nd MSC. Representatives of the German Government will include Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Head of the Federal Chancellery Peter Altmaier and the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller. 


German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen will open the conference on February 12 jointly with her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will also speak at the conference. 


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, the Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress of China, Fu Ying, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Adel Al-Jubeir, have also confirmed their participation. They will be joined by numerous parliamentarians, particularly from Washington, Berlin and the EU Parliament. In an unprecedented joint public appearance, several heads of intelligence agencies, including US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan, will take the stage for a debate. 


"Today's conflicts and crises are more dangerous and severe than anything we have seen since the end of the Cold War," MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger stressed in the run-up to the conference. "That's why it is important that so many decision-makers will gather in Munich to discuss ideas for conflict resolution and for strengthening the international order."


In addition to the conference program, a number of important multilateral and bilateral crisis meetings are set to take place on the sidelines of the MSC. These include a meeting by members of the International Syria Support Group on the eve of the conference's opening to consult on the process of ending the war in Syria. 


The MSC will also again serve as a platform for a large number of events hosted by renowned NGOs and institutions. Among many others, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the German Development Agency GIZ, Transparency International, the Forum Civil Peace Service, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the OSCE, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute will host discussion rounds on the MSC's sidelines. 


Second Munich Security Report released

In the run-up to the MSC 2016, the Munich Security Conference Foundation has published the second edition of the Munich Security Report. Under the title "Boundless Crises, Reckless Spoilers, Helpless Guardians," the report assembles insightful data, statistics and maps in order to shed light on some of the most crucial trends and challenges to international security. The report was prepared in cooperation with numerous renowned institutions. It serves as a conversation starter for the 52nd Munich Security Conference and as a background reading for MSC participants, but is also made available to security professionals and the interested public. 


New edition of "The Security Times"

The conference in Munich will again be accompanied by a special edition of "The Security Times". For many years, the journal has been a media partner of the MSC and has developed into a leading publication in the international security debate. This edition will include articles by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, Theo Sommer, former Editor-in-chief of the German newspaper Die Zeit and now Executive Editor of "The Security Times", and will focus on the relationship between NATO and Russia, the crisis in the Middle East, international terrorism and the future of Africa.


About the Munich Security Conference

Over the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) has become a key annual gathering for the international "strategic community." Since its foundation in 1963 as "Internationale Wehrkunde-Begegnung," the MSC has been an independent forum dedicated to promoting peaceful conflict resolution and international cooperation and dialogue in dealing with today's and future security challenges. It has especially focused on the transatlantic partnership. In addition to its annual flagship conference, the MSC regularly convenes high-profile events on particular topics and regions. 


The Munich Security Conference would like to thank the German government, the government of the Free State of Bavaria, the city of Munich and its many partners from the public and private sector for their support. Without them, hosting such a complex event would not be possible. A list of our supporters is available here.

09 February 2016, by MSC