On 7 May 2018, the 16th meeting of the Directors General for Civil Protection in the Baltic Sea Region gathered in Stockholm. The meeting, attended by the representatives of 9 CBSS countries, was organised by the Swedish Presidency and chaired by Dan Eliasson, Director General of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). Opening the meeting, Mr. Eliasson stated that knowledge exchange and joint actions are vital for making our region safer – “there is so much to gain from international cooperation in this field!”

The meeting was addressed by the Chair of the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials, Ambassador Hans Olsson, who stressed that ”the success of the implementation of the Joint Position on Enhancing Cooperation in the Civil Protection depends on engagement and commitment of all countries in the region”.

Director General of the CBSS Secretariat, Ambassador Maira Mora welcomed the participants and outlined the most important achievements in the field of societal security during the Swedish Presidency. Ambassador Mora emphasised that “transnational cooperation is not only important – it is absolutely necessary – to build a common societal security culture in the region, with high standards and reliability”.

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.