The Latvian Presidency of the CBSS Civil Protection Network – the State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia, in cooperation with the CBSS Secretariat, the Swedish Institute, EUSBSR Policy Area Secure and Riga Stradiņš University, hosted the Baltic Leadership Program (BLP) in Civil Protection Alumni outreach event and conference “Societal security in the Baltic Sea Region – Challenges and Solutions”. The conference was held 26 – 27 November 2018 in Riga, at Riga Stradiņš University. During the event, which was – in the BLP tradition – designed as a mix between theory, practice and networking, 60 participants from 11 countries listened to distinguished speakers and panelists and engaged in interactive workshops. Moreover, the course covered different perspectives on societal security: from the social anthropology view on risk perception to a gender-responsive DRR concept and a live demonstration of Augmented reality (AR) for use in public awareness raising campaigns. In interactive workshops, the participants discussed education and awareness raising while their ideas were captured by a professional graphic designer creating a blueprint for awareness-raising campaigns on citizen resilience for the Baltic Sea Region.
The welcome address for the conference was given by Dr. Agrita Kiopa, prorector of Riga Stradins University; Ms Inguna Aire, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of the Interior of Latvia; Ambassador Maira Mora, Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat, and Mr Nils Svartz, Former Acting Director General of Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, Senior Advisor to the Director General of MSB. A guest lecture on common societal security was given by Ms Kristina Syk, CEO of Straterno AB, Sweden. The conference had two panel discussions titled ‘Education as a Core Element of Societal Security Culture’ and ‘Regional Awareness Raising: A Tailored Approach’. The panel discussions were followed by workshops on the same topics. Concluding remarks were given by Professor Bengt Sundelius – Strategic Advisor at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).
In her opening speech Ambassador Mora congratulated the Baltic Leadership Programme, which through the years created a strong bond between present and future decision-makers across the Baltic Sea Region:”Often, we forget that behind this overused word “networks” there is a simple idea: networks are people who know each other and trust each other. People who can pick up the phone and call each other when they need help. It makes me happy to see you here, together, like old friends. Friends who will help each other when the time comes, like the Polish firefighters who came to help their Swedish colleagues during the worst forest fires this summer. I trust that all of you here will do the same for each other without hesitation.”
On behalf of the CBSS Secretariat’s Civil Security team, we sincerely congratulate our Latvian colleagues from the State Fire and Rescue service for organising such timely and educational event.
The Baltic Leadership Programme in Civil Protection is an initiative of the Swedish Institute, the Swedish Contingencies Agency and the Council of the Baltic Sea States. The programme seeks to create a network of key civil protection actors in the Baltic Sea region and equip them with the tools and information needed to manage cross-border collaboration and projects between diverse organisations in an intercultural context. Read more about BLP
This BLP event builds on past programmes from 2014 to 2017: offering a unique opportunity to share experiences and best practices among peers, acquire new knowledge and enhance leadership skills through the combination of theory and practice. It helps the participants increase their institutional knowledge and strengthen the ties between the agencies, that are playing a central role in crisis management in the BSR. The BLP in Civil Protection is also a strategic instrument that empowers future decision-makers in the field of civil security to challenge conventional approaches to emergency and crisis management, thus promoting comprehensive regional mechanisms and achieving the objectives of the Policy Area Secure (PA Secure) within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).
Next module of the Baltic Leadership Programme will take place in Denmark, and will be organised by the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) in November 2019.