Norway to prioritise security, citizens’ preparedness
Norway should prepare for an uncertain future and must focus on increased security and citizen preparedness, the report of the Total Preparedness Commission sent to Norway’s Justice and Public Security Minister Emilie Enger Mehl on Monday reads.
On Monday, Mehl received the Total Preparedness Commission’s report that evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of Norway’s emergency preparedness systems and includes proposals on strengthening societal security and preparedness.
“Just two months after the Commission started its work, Russia attacked Ukraine. This created a serious backdrop for the Commission’s work, which makes it all the more important,” said Mehl.
“The last time this was seen in context was when the Vulnerability Committee presented its report in 2000. The threat picture has changed significantly since then. This report will be an important tool for developing preparedness for the future”, she added.
“We need a change of pace in our emergency preparedness work,” said Commission chairman and former Chief of Defense Harald Sunde.
Norway must strengthen the municipalities’ ability to plan and manage crises comprehensively, he added, noting that such preparedness must be built from the bottom up. “We must all have our own emergency stocks,” he added.
The report also states that the Norwegian government must pay greater attention to the seriousness of the risk and threat situation and that the advice on self-preparedness must be strengthened.
“The advice should therefore be expanded to include a reference to the upper crisis spectrum. This includes both the number of days the population must be able to fend for itself in the event of a supply failure and a clarification of the scenarios that must be taken into account,” Sunde said.
Since 2002, the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) has conducted surveys on the municipalities’ work on civil protection that revealed that Norway’s municipalities have outdated emergency preparedness plans.
But it is not only the municipalities that are struggling, as shortcomings at the regional level are rife too.
“This is something we have been aware of for some time. It’s obviously not what we want, and we need to look at it and start making a plan,” he said.
The Total Preparedness Commission’s report will shortly be submitted for public consultation to ensure that everyone who wishes to do so has the opportunity to provide input on the reports.
(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)