On 1-3 March 2022, the Chairmanship of the CBSS Civil Protection Network hosted the 10th Baltic Excellence Programme in civil security in Oslo, Norway – the first physcial module since 2019 BEP in Tinglev, Denmark. 37 participants from 12 countries came to Oslo, invited by the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB).
The three-day meeting started with a welcoming address by the DSB Director General Elisabeth S. Aarsæther and continued with introductions to international frameworks and regional cooperation. The UN Sendai Framework was introduced by Andrew Bower (UNDRR), EU Civil Protection Mechanism – by Jürgen Krempin from Hamburg Fire and Rescue Services and UNECE Convention on Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accident was presented by Franziska Hirsch (UNECE). Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region within the CBSS CPN and EUSBSR PA Secure were introduced by Andriy Martynenko (CBSS) and Julia Fredriksson (MSB).
The second day held presentations and group work on natural hazards and climate change, as well as on Industrial/technological and man-made disasters. Among other useful information, the participants learned how the City of Hamburg protects itself from floods, how disaster prevention is supported in Latvia through EU-funded projects and what tools the CASCADE project developed for strengthening urban communicates against the risks of climate change. Management of technological disasters triggered by natural hazards (NATECH accidents) was discussed both from OECD, Norwegian and transboundary perspectives. Examples of effective land use planning were given by both Norwegian and Estonian experts.
During the third day the participants had a chance to apply their knowledge in a practical simulation workshop on disaster prevention and regional cooperation in land-use planning. During the simulation the participants had to assume the roles of local government, NGOs, ministries of tourism, economy, port authorities, developers, etc. The roleplay used a scenario, which included a hazardous chemical facility situated on the border between two countries and challenged the participants to make right decisions through negotiations on new development proposals.
Since 2012, with a combination of theory and practice, the Baltic Excellence Programme (originally – – Baltic Leadership Programme) seeks to create a network of civil security actors in the Baltic Sea Region and equip them with the tools and information needed to manage cross-border collaboration and in an intercultural context. Entirely in the successful tradition of previous programmes, this BEP course provided a truly multi-disciplinary programme, but most importantly – it provided a chance for the civil security experts from the region to form close working relationships – the key to building successful international collaboration.