The Baltic Sea region approach towards societal security to be discussed in RigaPrint

23.11.2018

From a regional perspective, countries often times are facing similar or even the same safety concerns and challenges, nevertheless a common societal security policy is an issue beginning to take a constant position in the agenda on the topic of regional security. The novelty of such perspective means that right now the approaches of regional actors towards societal security remain contrasting and frequently the discrepancies lie in the strategies of national governments along with diverse levels of comprehension of the notion “secure society” and of ways to promote it. The differences in national policies are determined not only by the historical culture of security and protection, but as well by the comprehension of security threats, financial and military capacity, values and political situation.

Societal security is not an obvious challenge in terms of international or transnational policies, yet it does not deny unraveling these seemingly local problems in a regional manner. Informing and educating the society of each country separately contributes towards the awareness of the society, but also lays the foundation for the regional society to be able to cooperate in shaping of a common security space, in different levels of society – starting with political elite and continuing across municipal, NGO’s and other civil society groups.

The concept “secure society” is relatively new in the Baltic countries, solving these issues in a regional manner is still in the process of development, while public safety and civil society practices form an integral part of national and regional security and security policy in the Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. Five Nordic countries have actively been working on a regional cooperation platform for civil society and for solving societal security issues along with improvement of the situation. Although each country has its own specific approach to deal with security concerns, cooperation has been achieved on a regional level in areas, such as cybersecurity – establishing a common cooperation network CERT; legislation, environmental, health and social affairs in the Nordic Council and other formats; as well as transnational police trainings and taking part together in ensuring security in high-level public events and establishing of a rescue service cooperation system NORDRED.

Furthermore, the mutual regional co-dependence in the whole region of the Baltic sea, not only in the separate group of Nordic countries, is an unavoidable phenomenon of global trends that brings negative as well as positive effects into economic and military perspective, taking into account the changing and challenging security environment of the European continent where a country-centered approach to protection and security no longer meets all the modern challenges. Nowadays more than ever the ability of society to resist and manage the situations that expose people to safety risks or even endanger their lives has become not only a challenge for each individual country but also requires a broader research and practical approach to educating the public about the theme of security.

On 27 November in Riga, 16 Dzirciema street, the State Fire and Rescue Service in cooperation with Riga Stradiņš University will host the conference devoted to the topic of security – “Societal Security in the Baltic Sea Region: Challenges and Solutions”. The conference will take place in the framework of Baltic Leadership Programme Alumni, with the participation of graduates of the program, as well as local and international experts in the field of communication, security and public education. The Baltic Leadership Programme (BLP) in Civil Protection is an initiative funded by the Swedish Institute and organized in cooperation with the Swedish Contingencies Agency (MSB) and the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

The goal of the conference is to provide a comprehensive insight and discuss various solutions to the problem of public security today, discussing the various composing elements. Public education matters that include not only the dissemination of informative materials, but also the use of new technologies and an integrated approach where civil protection and security questions are included in the education system itself, thus teaching them from childhood and at all levels of education – from pre-school to university. It will also be discussed how complex and difficult-to-understand information on the topic of security can be delivered in an understandable and informative way for the society, at the same time ensuring not only that the information comes in, but also remains with the consumer. An important aspect within the framework is the awareness of society's groups and individuals themselves about the security of society, its aspects, the necessity and usefulness for the joint establishment of a secure society within the region.

Information prepared by

Elīna VROBĻEVSKA

Elīna Vrobļevska is a lecturer at Riga Stradiņš University, giving lectures on the work of International Institutions and International Relations Theory. Elīna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, and is currently working on her doctoral thesis. Previously has been a part of OSCE expert mission and is currently working on the management of EuropeAid projects in EU Neighbouring countries and Africa.