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NSD-S Hub Publications

The NSD-S HUB was established at Allied Joint Force Command Naples in order to improve NATO awareness and understanding of common global challenges in the area of interest and to identify opportunities for cooperation with selected Partners, while contributing to the overall coordination of NATO activities and efforts. NSD-S HUB products are developed with open-source information from regional actors and experts, governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, academic institutions, media sources and military organizations. By design, NSD-S HUB products or links to open-sourced and independently produced articles do not necessarily represent the opinions, views or official positions of any other organization.

MENA: Challenges and Capabilities in Cyberspace

MENA: Challenges and Capabilities in Cyberspace

Mar 22, 2022

MENA countries are increasingly facing global cyber threats, as almost three billion people are connected to the internet through cyberspace. Strong cyber capacity is crucial for states to progress and develop in the economic, political and social sphere. Of primary concern in the MENA region is the disparity in cyber capabilities, where some countries have are very advanced while others remain considerably behind.


Exploring strategies to address Conflict Related Sexual Violence.

Exploring strategies to address Conflict Related Sexual Violence.

Mar 11, 2022

In conflict situations, sexual violence against women and girls is used systematically as a weapon for achieving political and military ends. Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) refers to all forms of sexual violence that is linked to a conflict and which deliberately targets civilians, inflicting long-term trauma and humiliation, fracturing families and the social fabric. FemWise-Africa, women peacebuilders from Africa, and the NSD-S Hub, came together to discuss possible policy options to address this.


Maritime and Energy Security in the Gulf

Maritime and Energy Security in the Gulf

Feb 25, 2022

The Gulf region contains some of the primary and most transited maritime energy corridors in the world. Therefore, chokepoints along these maritime routes have a fundamental part to play in global energy security. However, maritime transit in the Gulf has often been disrupted by accidents, terrorist attacks and piracy. To gain a better understanding of the maritime and energy security dynamics in the Gulf, on 6 October 2021, NATO-ICI Regional Center and the NATO Strategic Direction South-Hub held a joint Study Day to discuss "Maritime and Energy Security in the Gulf".


Competition for Natural Resources in the SAHEL

Competition for Natural Resources in the SAHEL

Feb 22, 2022

The Sahel region is home to resource-rich states. However, the inequitable distribution of resource revenues leave living- conditions for most citizens in the Sahel poor. External actors with the right connections and willingness to operate amid relative chaos, can make a fortune from resource-rich, fragile states. This project has examined the main drivers of instability in natural resource extraction in the Sahel by specific actors: Russia (RUS), Violent Extremist Organisations (VEOs) and Non State Armed Groups (NSAG).


MENA Space Capabilities & Security Challenges

MENA Space Capabilities & Security Challenges

Feb 17, 2022

Unlike the space race of the 1960s, space is no longer an area where only a few countries operate. In recent decades, there has been a surge of interests and participants, underlining its importance for security and prosperity on the planet. As in Africa, Middle Eastern countries have steadily accelerated their own space programs, involving similar developmental motives and models as well as considerable differences. This intricate and highly specific project was aimed at enhancing NATO's understanding of space and security challenges in the region.


Women's Roles in Terrorist Groups in the Middle East and North Africa

Women's Roles in Terrorist Groups in the Middle East and North Africa

Sep 13, 2021

This study contributes to a more comprehensive and strategic understanding of the potential security threats associated with women's current and future participation in terrorism. Failure to account for how and why women radicalise, enlist and operate, both offline and online, cedes the initiative to extremist groups, ultimately influencing the effectiveness of efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism. Overlooking the involvement of women in terrorism or downplaying their influence is not only an analytic but also a strategic blind spot.


Mapping the Terrorist Threat in the South

Mapping the Terrorist Threat in the South

Aug 30, 2021

In the tri-border region of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger the relationship between Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) has gone through various phases over recent years. From peaceful co-existence and even collaboration up to and including most of 2019, there followed high intensity conflict in 2020, only for there to be a return to relatively low levels of violence thus far in 2021.


China's Engagement in Africa and the Middle East

China's Engagement in Africa and the Middle East

Jul 22, 2021

There has been an increase to unprecedented levels of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) initiatives in Africa and the Middle East, both bilaterally and multilaterally, over the past decade. The push in Africa has been spreading since the establishment of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Through the BRI, China has similarly strengthened its foothold in the Middle East. In fact, the Heads of State in the Euro-Atlantic area have labelled the stated PRC ambitions and assertive behaviour as a "systemic challenge" to the global order.


Migration in the Greater Mediterranean Region

Migration in the Greater Mediterranean Region

Jul 22, 2021

While Mediterranean sea-crossings have partially decreased in recent years, mass flows of people towards European countries remain of strategic concern. In this context, migration, especially when undertaken through irregular and disorderly channels, has emerged as both a national security and a human security issue.


On-line Study Day: "Women's Role in De-Radicalization and Rehabilitation in the MENA region"

On-line Study Day: "Women's Role in De-Radicalization and Rehabilitation in the MENA region"

Jul 4, 2021

The Hub organized a study day to discuss best practices regarding women's roles in de-radicalization & rehabilitation in the MENA region. There has been an increasing awareness of the importance of roles that women play in de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes both within the public and private spheres. The study day investigated such roles, including the role of women in programmes for returnees, especially women who have participated or supported terrorist violence.


The Challenge of Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East Workshop Report

The Challenge of Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East Workshop Report

Jul 2, 2021

A workshop related to The Challenge of Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East was organized by the NATO Strategic Direction South (NSD-S) Hub on 31st March and 1st April 2021. This complex and cross-cutting project was organized in partnership with the NATO Defence College (NDC).


Joint Report on Terrorism in the Sahel

Joint Report on Terrorism in the Sahel

May 11, 2021

Following the complete analysis of a two-year period, a broader and more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of terrorism over time has been achieved, identifying new TVEO trends, capacity building and strategies in the Sahel region.


The spread of Al Shabaab. From Somalia to Kenya and beyond

The spread of Al Shabaab. From Somalia to Kenya and beyond

Apr 16, 2021

The international community has identified Al-Shabaab (AS) as a major threat to international security. The particular focus is on its established links to Al Qaeda (AQ) and the question of an AS expansion of its area of activities beyond Somalia into Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Uganda and beyond. The widespread assumption within the international community has long been that, if left unchecked, AS would expand across the region and as such extend the global reach of its ally, AQ. The primary aim of this research project is to interrogate this widespread assumption.


The Challenge of the Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East - Education and Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Challenge of the Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East - Education and Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

Apr 15, 2021

This paper deals with the challenge of education, job skills development and youth unemployment over the next 30 years in Africa and the Middle East with a specific focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). While this focus does not imply diminished importance of the youth bulge across Africa and the Middle East as a whole, it is intended to highlight the phenomenon where, for the next three decades, it is likely to be the most extreme and creating the greatest cause for concern, therefore being the most relevant for NATO.


The Challenge of the Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East - Empowerment and Radicalisation

The Challenge of the Youth Bulge in Africa and the Middle East - Empowerment and Radicalisation

Apr 15, 2021

The NSD-S Hub and The Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division of the African Union developed this paper to address the fact that, although the "Youth Bulge" is not a new phenomenon, over the past decade the youth population has demonstrated the power to reshape the political and security landscapes in Africa and the Middle East. The population growth, in combination with globalisation, and digitalisation in particular, has the potential for negative impact on the security environment in these regions and beyond. This is of growing importance since it has been assessed that by the end of the century the number of young people in Africa will be double the size of the entire European population.


The Challenge Of The Youth Bulge In Africa And The Middle East - Migration And The Brain Drain

The Challenge Of The Youth Bulge In Africa And The Middle East - Migration And The Brain Drain

Apr 15, 2021

This paper deals with indisputable fact that a Youth Bulge exacerbates the issues of migration and the brain drain, as unemployment threatens African youth and rampant poverty and inequalities still cloud the perspectives of those living where sound structural change has yet to take place. The lack of good quality job opportunities represents a severe challenge for Africa and the Middle East and, since many states fail to absorb the increasingly large youth population, more and more young people are resorting to migrating abroad permanently, since intra-Africa migration is often hindered by regional regulations on worker mobility. As many young people migrate towards Europe and America in search of better prospects, the "brain drain", namely the migration of engineers, physicians, scientists and other very highly skilled and educated professionals, becomes a particularly compelling issue.


Gulf of Guinea: Improving Maritime Security

Gulf of Guinea: Improving Maritime Security

Mar 1, 2021

The Gulf of Guinea (GoG) is an important geopolitical chokepoint for the shipping and transportation of oil extracted in the Niger delta, as well as for goods to and from central and southern Africa. Piracy, armed robbery at sea, illegal fishing, smuggling, and trafficking, pose a significant threat to maritime security in the GoG, and ultimately to the economic development of the entire region.


Counter-Terrorism - Best Practices in North Africa and the Sahel

Counter-Terrorism - Best Practices in North Africa and the Sahel

Feb 22, 2021

NATO Strategic Direction-South Hub ("the Hub") hosted a live online Webinar on 24 November, 2020 at which it engaged and learnt from African experts sharing regional experience and audience comments. The discussion examined the root causes of terrorism and radicalization, the challenges of dealing with them at domestic and regional levels and the best practices in the region.


WEBINAR: How do emerging and disruptive technologies shape the security agenda in the South?

WEBINAR: How do emerging and disruptive technologies shape the security agenda in the South?

Jan 15, 2021

Technological innovation and digital transformations brought the possibility of improving and change significantly the human condition in a short lap of time. It is expected that the near future will be marked by learning machines, artificial intelligence, edited genomes, autonomous systems , virtual stateless currencies, and private space travel. All this represents an incredible potential for human welfare. Nevertheless, these emerging and disruptive technologies represent also enormous challenges as well to nations and individuals.


Drivers of Radicalisation in the Sahel

Drivers of Radicalisation in the Sahel

Nov 30, 2020

Understanding the intricacies of radicalisation and the complex relationships between it and civilian populations is certainly necessary for the development of a comprehensive approach to it. The question of the role of religion in the radicalisation process is integral to this development, and therefore directly relevant to new and/or improved Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) measures. And the answer is perhaps not as clear as you might think.


5 recommendations for stemming the flow of Small Arms & Light Weapons

5 recommendations for stemming the flow of Small Arms & Light Weapons

Nov 26, 2020

As NATO is committed to addressing the flow of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) through legal and technical means and also via cultural, societal and functional methods, the Hub has collaborated with experts from across North and Sub-Saharan Africa to gain greater insight into this issue. In our discussions, 5 recommendations were identified.


"Victim" or "Security Threat": Gendered Narratives on Women Returnees to the MENA Region

Sep 3, 2020

The complex question of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters and their families returning from areas once controlled by DAESH is a high priority policy area for NATO members and its partners, particularly in the South. Of the at least 6,900 foreign women – some 3,000 from the MENA region – who are believed to have traveled to join DAESH in Syria and Iraq, it is unclear how many have actually returned to their home countries since the fall of the terrorist group’s last stronghold of Baghouz in 2019. What has happened to these women? Are they trying to return? What awaits them when they arrive?


NSD-S Hub Webinar africa's response to COVID-19

NSD-S Hub Webinar africa's response to COVID-19

Jun 15, 2020

NATO Strategic Direction South Hub (NSD-S Hub) and Three Stones International (TSI) collaborated to conduct a live online webinar on the 28 April, 2020, supplemented by secondary data review and an online survey, to better understand Africa’s response to COVID-19, and relative successes, challenges and recommendations for NATO’s contribution. The webinar dialogue and audience comments allowed the NSD-S Hub to engage and learn from African experts sharing regional experience from eight different countries. The discussion addressed COVID-19 preparedness and response across the African continent, including the overall impact on political, economic and social stability. While the panellists touched on matters related to the immediate impacts on health and wellbeing of citizens, they also addressed the long-term implications to trade, national and regional economies, political stability and regional cooperation. Additionally, the dialogue explored recommendations for support which African nations and NATO could employ both in pandemic response and post-pandemic recovery.


China's Relevance in the Security Domain in Africa and the Middle East

China's Relevance in the Security Domain in Africa and the Middle East

Jun 12, 2020

China’s involvement in Africa and the Middle East region is not new but it has significantly increased since the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. Globally, even though China remains behind other historical partners such as the USA or Europe, the growth rate of its engagement is far higher. The gradual erosion of the Chinese principle of non-intervention has led China to change its posture vis-à-vis other developing countries, shouldering its responsibilities to help and, in some cases, to act as a model.


NSD-S Hub Webinar Report Local Solutions to Combatting Human Trafficking

NSD-S Hub Webinar Report Local Solutions to Combatting Human Trafficking

May 21, 2020

On February 11, 2020 NATO’s Strategic Direction – South Hub (NSD-S Hub), in collaboration with Three Stones International (TSI), facilitated a webinar dialogue on the condition of trafficking in persons (TIP) and human smuggling in Africa. This live webinar, in conjunction with a secondary data review, and an online survey supported the NSD-S Hub’s research agenda regarding the promotion of political and economic stability in Africa. The webinar panelists were subject matter experts in the fields of human trafficking, smuggling, migration, and human rights. Additionally, data was collected via surveys from an additional 20 subject matter experts from 13 different African countries, which provided the NSD-S Hub with well-informed insight into the realities of TIP and human smuggling in Africa.




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