Word of welcome by Jan van Zanen at the Integrated CIMIC Key Leader Conference, 5 September 2023


Dear guests,


Welcome to this conference organised by the NATO Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence.

The Hague feels closely connected with NATO and its goals.

That connection dates back to the time of the Cold War, when the SHAPE Air Defence Technical Centre was set up here in 1955.

Since the end of the Second World War, this part of the world has fortunately been spared the violence of war.

In other places, however, that has not been the case.

And wherever war is waged, the civilian population also suffers greatly.

As we now unfortunately see in Ukraine.

That war in the east of our continent has further underlined the importance of close cooperation between military and civic authorities.

Especially when it comes to protecting the civilian population.

Something which is a top priority for NATO.

As the international city of peace and justice, The Hague considers it an honour, therefore, to have the NATO Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence based here.

Something which is only natural, in my view, given the presence here in The Hague of many other international bodies dealing with peace, justice and security.

We, the city, actively endeavour to accommodate all of these organisations to the best of our ability.

And to create a climate in which cooperation and innovation can thrive.

We support dynamic initiatives like The Hague Humanity Hub, a community of people and organisations who – despite their diversity – have one thing in common:

their drive to find innovative solutions for everything that has to do with peace, justice and humanitarian interventions, for example.

I would even venture to say that The Hague’s international ecosystem is a good fit with the aims of this conference:

Bringing together the various parties involved in civil-military cooperation in the area of protecting civilians in military conflicts.

I wish you success and inspiration in the days ahead and a pleasant stay in our city.

Know that you will always be welcome in The Hague.

And for this week we have arranged sunny weather for you…