Directors General for Civil Protection in the Baltic Sea Region discuss ways of making the region safer

The Directors General for Civil Protection in the Baltic Sea Region meet annually to provide updates on the recent developments in their national frameworks and activities. These meetings also provide the opportunity to discuss potential areas of cooperation between countries and their relevant agencies. On 7-8 May the CBSS Secretariat in Stockholm hosted the 16th such meeting.

Sweden currently holds the presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (2017-2018) and therefore chairs the CBSS Civil Protection Network. This annual meeting was chaired and directed by the new Director General for the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), Dan Eliasson. To open this year´s meeting, Ambassador and current Chair of the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) Hans Olsson welcomed the representatives. Ambassador and Director General of the Secretariat Maira Mora attended the meeting and highlighted the need for transnational cooperation to build a common societal security culture in the region, with high standards & reliability.

Last year’s meeting, which took place in Keflavik under the Icelandic presidency, marked a very important step in increasing teamwork between the national crisis management agencies in the Baltic Sea region. All eleven member states agreed on eight priority areas where cooperation must be increased and adopted a Joint Statement on the matter.

During the first day of the meeting the participants were informed of the progress in the countries’ efforts in advancing the priority areas of the Joint Position and the Action Plan, discussed the potential of better utilisation and coordination of problem-focused research (video conference with Eivind Hovden from the Nordforsk) and reviewed the achievements and the future of the Baltic Leadership Programme in Civil Protection. Two areas, in particular, were highlighted by the participants: increased cooperation in CBRNE issues and better utilisation of national data for improving the region’s resilience to different hazards. The establishment of an institutionalised network of CBRNE stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region was widely supported by the Directors General. They endorsed the TREFF concept and encourage relevant partners to work on the organization of the macro-regional meeting of actors dealing with different aspects of preparedness and response to CBRNE threats.

The first day concluded with presentations of two EUSBSR Flagship projects: Balex Delta and Hazard and a presentation of the upcoming international conference “Managing complexity: Addressing societal security challenges in the Baltic Sea Region”, organised by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on 11-12 June 2018.

The second day of the meeting started with a roundtable on the recent developments and activities in the CBSS Member States and continued with a presentation of the campaign: Risk communication and risk awareness week in Sweden.

Special guest of the meeting, Mr. Adhilash Panda, Deputy Director, Regional Office for Europe, UNISDR, presented updates on the region’s work in implementing the UN Sendai Framework, during which he praised the Baltic Sea Region countries for their achievements in advancing the global agenda and expressed interest in continuing cooperation with the network.

The Latvian delegation presented the vision for the upcoming presidency 2018-2019, emphasizing dialogue, responsibility, and integrity and societal security as overall presidency priorities. The Latvian presidency will focus on supporting the data collection for the evaluation of the Sendai Framework implementation process in the BSR and on the educational aspects of the societal security.

The traditional Presidency Bell Handover Ceremony concluded the meeting.

The following countries were represented at the meeting: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.

For images from the meeting take a look at CBSS Flickr.