Defence and Security Affairs

In the last few years there have been significant changes in the security environment following the departure of US military forces from Iceland in September 2006. Membership of NATO and the bilateral defence agreement between Iceland and the United States remain fundamental pillars of Iceland's Security and Defence. Iceland is a country without a military and has emphasised a comprehensive and multilateral approach in security affairs and is a member of key organisations, such as the United Nations, NATO and the OSCE.

The concept of security is no longer restricted to territorial defence; the concept is much wider and extends to coming to terms with new challenges. Individual states will not by themselves prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, international crime, environmental degradation, financial security, cyber threats, human trafficking, the negative impact of climate change, poverty and destitution, nor the threat posed by failed states. These global threats can only be met through active international co-operation.

The fight for human rights and women's empowerment, peace and disarmament has high priority in Iceland's foreign policy. These are values that the Icelandic Government wants to emphasize in international cooperation, values that the Government has also taken on as an international commitment.

There is a clear connection between the respect for human rights, including the rights of women, and sustainable peace and security. Iceland has in its work in international arena, especially endeavoured to contribute to the enhanced participation of women in all decision making. Special attention has been given to UN Security Council Resolution No. 1325 and to ways to enhance the participation of women in peace negotiations, post-conflict reconstruction and other peace processes.

Iceland has entered into cooperation with neighbouring states which entails dialogue on security and defence issues as well as situational awareness, search and rescue.

A report on risk assessment for Iceland, compiled by an interdisciplinary commission appointed by the Icelandic Foreign Minister, was published in March 2009. This report serves as an important basis for policy formulation in security and defence affairs.

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