In recent years the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) has been affected by a multitude of disasters and crises of increased interconnectedness and complexity. When combined, they present a serious challenge for the region. Climate change-related risks, pandemics and the consequences of the war raging at the region’s borders demand attention. Our region is becoming more connected, but that does not mean that we share the same understanding of threats and how to deal with them. That is why it is important to build common attitudes towards societal security threats and a shared understanding of prevention, preparedness, and response as well as recovery processes in connection with disasters.
This is the essence and the main purpose of cooperation in the area of civil security: building a common societal security culture in the BSR. A broad, whole-of-society approach and cooperation, readiness to act jointly and shared know-how are important components of effective crisis management whenever disasters or accidents occur.
The CBSS is helping to build common societal security culture in the BSR through two main cooperation structures:
- CBSS Civil Protection Network (CPN)
- by co-coordinating the Policy Area Secure (PA Secure) of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).
These two networks are not working separately, the CPN and PA Secure activities are closely interlinked. This close cooperation and mutual enforcement determine the success of the work carried out in civil protection in the BSR, brings extra energy and resources into civil protection activities and projects and makes the region safer.
We bring professionals working with civil security in different countries around the same table for a dialogue. They come from all levels – from ministers and directors general to fire fighters and volunteers. The dialogue takes different forms: meetings, workshops, conferences, joint exercises and projects. The goal is always to build trust and long-term working relationships and create a network of professionals, who would not hesitate to contact each other when a crisis comes.
Often, to organise a joint activity our networks of professionals need partners, money or access to the latest results of scientific research. Using our knowledge of the region we help them to find partners, a university research team working on the relevant topic or a funding source, that finances projects on civil security. We also make sure that the lessons learned from the exercises, projects and expert discussions are shared as widely as possible and are known to both practitioners and policymakers. To achieve this, we monitor all the latest news in civil security and share the most important ones through our website, mailing lists, social media.
- Joint Position on Enhancing Cooperation in Civil Protection Area
- Oslo Declaration on Region Cooperation in the Civil Protection Network
- Vilnius II Declaration: […] The Region experiences significant progress in regional cooperation in civil protection, especially the prevention, preparedness and response against emergencies, including oil pollution, forest fires and in maritime search and rescue […].
- CBSS Action Plan 2021-2025
- EUSBSR Action Plan
- Secure Kids (2023-2025). Secure Kids strengthens the sustainability and impact of child participation mechanisms in decision-making processes at both national and local levels with a specific focus on decisions and action to build safe and secure societies, including their resilience and ability to prevent, prepare, respond, and adapt to different types of hazards and emergencies.
- NEEDS (2020-2023). Needs-based Education and Studies in Societal Security (NEEDS) aim to strengthen the quality, attractiveness, and scope of education in societal security through tackling the mismatches between the focus of education, and the knowledge needs of the field. The objective of NEEDS is to better prepare the next generation tasked to work in the field of societal security by boosting their educational experiences with the most relevant, field-specific, and up-to-date knowledge and skills.
- BALTinnoSEC (2021-2023). Pan-Baltic Cross-Sectoral Innovation in Societal Security (BALTinnoSEC) project aims to investigate the feasibility of an interface, connecting civil security actors in constellations, focused on tackling risks, specific to BSR. The interface is envisioned as a problem-solving platform or forum for regular off- & online meetings of practitioners, researchers and business, thus sharing access to the latest management solutions and technologies, cutting costs and time for all involved.
- VOALA (2022-2024). Volunteers and Local Authorities – Baltic Sea Region Network (VOALA) is a transnational project that aims to enhance society’s resilience to natural and man-made disasters. More specifically the project will maximize the effectiveness and enhance international practical cooperation and joint preparedness among authorities, volunteer organisations and citizens in the field of civil protection; and will clarify and strengthen the role/mission of volunteers in national legislation, plans and operational procedures and to improve the overall coordination of volunteers.
- EUSBSR PA Secure coordination (2022-2024). The project supports the Policy Area Secure Coordinators (PAC) in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities. The goal of PA Secure is to build a common societal security culture in the BSR to enable developing common capacities for strengthening societal security and reducing vulnerabilities in coping with transboundary challenges. PA Secure aims to strengthen civil protection capacities to jointly manage cases of major cross-border emergencies that could cause severe effects on society. It supports also enhancing capabilities to combat malicious threats, particularly those related to THB and violating children’s rights.
- Baltic Excellence Programme in Societal Security (organised every year by the CBSS CPN Presidency). The overall aim of the BEP is to enhance the capacity of civil protection and law enforcement organisations. These goals are achieved by engaging experts, who hold a key to strategic leadership positions at the local, regional and national levels. The programmes offer unique opportunities for the participants to share experiences and best practices among peers, acquire new knowledge and enhance leadership skills through the combination of theory and practice. The participation in the course also increases institutional knowledge and strengthens the ties between the agencies playing a central role in crisis management in the BSR.
- BYFORES (2022-2024). Baltic Youth for Resilient Society (BYFORES) aims to enhance resilience to natural and man-made disasters by strengthening inclusive, cross-sectoral cooperation between authorities and volunteer organisations in crisis management in the Baltic Sea Region with a special focus on youth engagement. The project looks into the role that young people can play in managing and coping with disaster risks and reducing vulnerability through capacity building, education, and awareness raising.
- A Safe Place (2021-2022). The project investigates how women’s safety has changed during the pandemic and provides the target groups with the knowledge, strategies, and methodologies needed to tackle this social issue and efficiently support survivors of violence. Furthermore, the project will represent a safe place for women, a chance to feel free to cultivate their interests and share their feelings.
- Civic Education for Resilience of Communities (2021-2022). Project “DE-PL-LT to Crises by creating a system of modern training as well as professional qualifications for civil protection educators” aims to enable citizens to raise individual competences, to create a system of modern training, as well as professional qualifications for educators in the field of civil protection.
- Improving communication with migrants for crisis preparedness: lessons learned from COVID-19(2021-2022). The project aims at developing an appropriate communication plan which can provide a quick response to the current crisis and future emergency situations by disseminating relevant information among migrant communities. It also seeks to strengthen cooperation between the states of the Baltic Sea Region to deal with cross-border crisis. The project analyses the multilingual information provided during the COVID-19 crisis by stakeholders from different sectors (governmental institutions, companies, universities, NGOs and media) in Estonia, Finland and Latvia; and carries out a cross-national comparative study to identify a series of good practices which serve as the basis to suggest new strategies in translation policies. The resulting guidelines will contribute to a faster recovery from the current crisis and address future emergency situations in the Baltic Sea Region.
- Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue Engagement Roadmap 2022
- Digital solutions for online learning in societal security
- Key Observations and Recommendations of the NEEDS Project
- The Role of Children and Youth in Building Resilient Societies in the Baltic Sea Region
- Enhancing Societal Security Graduate Employability in the Baltic Sea Region
- Societal Security as Higher Education: State of the Art in the Baltic Sea Region
- An Evaluation of the Development and Effectiveness of PA Secure 2013-19
- The Role of Local Governments in Adapting to the Climate: A Regulatory Requirements and Support Mechanisms Overview
- The Sendai Framework in the Baltic Sea Region
- Mapping of Responsibilities for CBRNE Emergency Management in the Baltic Sea Region
- Common Societal Security Culture in the Baltic Sea Region: Basics and the Way Forward
- Soft Security and Migration in the Baltic Sea Region
- The Baltic Sea Region Methodology for Risk and Capability Assessment – A First Approach
Facts & Figures
- Connecting professionals in civil protection – From 2012 to 2023, the Baltic Leadership Programme/Baltic Excellence Programme in Civil Security brought together over 150 experts holding key leadership positions in civil protection and law enforcement from all CBSS Member States.
- Exploring meaningful participation of children and youth in disaster risk reduction – Children and youth’s vulnerability to disasters is expected to increase as the intensity and frequency of natural disasters increase. Building resilience in children and youth and their communities through reducing their vulnerability to disasters is important for every country in the BSR. CBSS initiated a series of projects (ChyResilience, Secure Kids) to explore how children and youth can contribute to the region’s resilience.
- Supporting Ukraine – In a bid to better understand the challenges faced by Polish authorities responding to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, an international delegation, of which the CBSS was part, travelled to several Polish cities including Warsaw and Przemyśl on 10-12 May 2022. Ukrainian civil protection delegation was invited to the BALTinnoSEC pilot Forum to share their experiences in crisis communication. A project helping Ukrainian NGOs to increase resilience of communities through non-formal education in civil protection was initiated.
- Assisting with national risk assessments – In 2014-2018, CBSS Initiated a sequence of transnational projects, focused on strengthening the national resilience, which helped a number of countries to create their national risk assessment strategies.
- 22 years since the first BSR intergovernmental agreement was signed – on the exchange of radiation monitoring data – Established in 1992, EGRNS is the first and the oldest CBSS Expert Group, which was instrumental in preparing an intergovernmental agreement signed under the auspices of CBSS in 2001. Still operational, the agreement set the legal and administrative basis for monitoring and exchange of data on radioactivity in the air, soil and water in the BSR.