The first Nordic defence ministerial during the Finnish Nordic chairmanship was held in Kotka on May 12, 2009. The Nordic countries are engaged in close and comprehensive defence cooperation with long traditions. In recent years, it has included three separate tracks: Nordic Armaments Cooperation (NORDAC) since 1994, Nordic Coordinated Arrangement for Military Peace Support (NORDCAPS) since 1997, and Nordic Supportive Defence Structures (NORDSUP) since 2008.
In their meeting in Kotka, the Ministers decided to merge the previously separate arrangements into one comprehensive structure that comprises defence policy, capability development and crisis management operations. The goal since the last ministerial in November 2008 has been to create one streamlined, effectively working and yet clear and simple structure.
The aim is to establish the new structures at the next ministerial in November 2009, and to have the new structures functioning from January 2010. The new arrangement will increase cost-effectiveness, decrease overlaps that existed within the old structures and allow a consistent political steering and military coordination in all areas of cooperation.
The Ministers also discussed security developments in Northern Europe and exchanged views on the ongoing national defence transformation processes. They also evaluated common challenges in Africa and Afghanistan.
The ministers discussed developments in the High North and possibilities for Nordic cooperation there. Similarly, they analyzed possibilities for enhanced Nordic cooperation in the Baltic Sea. In Africa, the Nordic countries are supporting the development of crisis management capabilities. A joint Nordic Advisory and Coordinating Staff (NACS) will be established in Nairobi in autumn 2009. In Afghanistan, there is a need for improved strategic communication and information sharing between international actors. Since all the Nordic countries are present in Afghanistan, there is a potential for sharing lessons learned as well as best practices.