The Estonian Rescue Board to focus on civil protection during the presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States

Today, on 1 July, Estonia is taking over the presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States for one year, during which time it will focus on enhancing security and ensuring sustainability in the Baltic Sea region, as well as on involving Ukraine in the region’s activities. The priorities of the Estonian Rescue Board during the presidency are raising crisis awareness of the population, early warning systems, sheltering and mass evacuation.

The aim of the presidency is to strengthen cooperation between the Baltic Sea countries in the field of civil protection. According to the Director General of the Estonian Rescue Board, Margo Klaos, the most important thing for Estonia is to learn from the experiences of others and share our own. ‘For Estonia, developing civil protection capabilities has been a new field in recent years and we know that other countries have accumulated a great deal more experience in many areas – for example in developing a siren network and carrying out large-scale evacuations. But perhaps we can learn the most from each other’s failures,’ Klaos said, adding that the Estonian Rescue Board has planned various seminars and expert meetings throughout the year, where countries will have the opportunity to learn from each other.

At the meetings, answers will be sought to the following questions: how to get people crisis-ready; how to boost risk and safety awareness in communities; how to develop early warning systems; how to cultivate mass wartime evacuation preparedness and awareness of sheltering; how to engage volunteers, including young people and partner agencies.

‘These are questions to which all of the countries around the Baltic Sea are searching for answers and developing systems. In the state that Europe and the world are currently in, it makes the most sense to work together as a united front in planning for civil protection, so that we can support each other before and during crises. In a difficult security situation, cooperation between the civil protection authorities of the region is of critical importance.’
The Estonian Rescue Board participates in Baltic Sea cooperation through the Civil Protection Network (CPN). The CPN is chaired by the country holding the presidency and supported by the Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic Sea States. In addition to Estonia, the Council of the Baltic Sea States includes Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.

Estonia will hold the presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2025. The previous presidency was held by Finland. Estonia previously held the presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States in 2014–2015.