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This year the Belgrade Security Forum titled “No trust – No Peace” is happening under very specific circumstances, deprived of one of its main assets networking. However, moderator Marko Savković led an inspiring discussion on what has been done in the past 10 years since the first iteration of the Forum.

Sonja Licht, President of Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, has remembered the very beginning of the Belgrade Security Forum. Following the example set by the great events in Europe, as the Munich Security Conference, GLOBSEC, and the Brussels Forum, the idea was to raise some of the most challenging issues important for the Balkans and beyond, approach them in an innovative way, respect and open debate about those issues by respecting different points of view.

It had to be a partnership. We needed to invite our colleagues from the civil society to join us. And here we are, ten years later with the same partners in this very unusual setting. We can pretend that this is the BSF as usual, but I don’t think we should.

Director of Belgrade Centre for Security Policy Igor Bandović stressed tree main consequences that global pandemic of COVID-19 had on civil society organizations. First of all, civil society organization were losing physical space because they could not be present in the public as before. Secondly, the financial consequences of the pandemic were shaping donor policies and this effected civil society. Finally, the social anxiety created by the pandemic is inducing the anxiety between the people and fear between the nation and the state. This impacts the cooperation between civil society organization, as well.

Despite unfavorable global context, Bandović promised not to lose sight of the values.

What we can claim and promise is that the values that we shared between the partners and organizers of the Forum, will remain the same despite all the challenges.

Zvezdana Kovač, Secretary General of the European Movement in Serbia elaborated on the title of this year’s Forum – No Trust – No Peace, is the right title considering what is going on with the Covid19 global crisis, not only in Serbia, but around the world.

Lack of trust made us insecure and confused. And there can not be a solution without trust.

Kovač spoke about the elements that make BSF special: the partnership, the autonomy, and creating the place where women voice can be heard, and young scholars and students introduced to the expert community.

Over ten years the Belgrade Security Forum hosted over 230 discussions, bringing together 4,000 participants and 900 panelists, including decision makers and policy makers, representatives of security institutions, civil society, the international and academic community from Serbia and the region, but also other parts of Europe and the world.

During the following days throughout October current issues will be addressed: crisis of democracy and solidarity (October 14), anti-western narratives in the Western Balkans (October 20), depopulation (October 21),Belgrade–Pristina dialogue (October 22), the US elections (October 22), future of Europe and the Western Balkans (October 27), technology and privacy (October 27). Find the agenda and speaker list here.