Nordic Prime Ministers’ joint statement on deepening cooperation in the field of security of supply and preparedness
Nordics together: more secure and better prepared to meet future challenges
The global pandemic has emphasized the need for international, European, regional, as well as bilateral cooperation to complement our national and local perspectives. The Nordic family forms a natural group to this end. In the light of the pandemic, this is particularly relevant today in the field of security of supply and preparedness.
We, the Prime Ministers of the Nordic countries and Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland, are committed to further deepening our cooperation with respect to the critical functions and services of our societies.
We underline the importance of an all-hazard approach, covering the whole threat spectrum and preparing for all kinds of emergencies and crises caused by man or nature. This entails, for example, measures to ensure that the water running from our taps is clean, that our food security is maintained, and that our energy systems are sustainable, robust and capable of withstanding disruptions. Furthermore, this implies actions to secure the functioning of our digital networks and critical digital services, including financial infrastructure, as well as vital logistical supply routes. Moreover, as we have recently experienced, reliable supply of critical medical equipment and medicines is crucial in a pandemic.
We must prepare for scenarios that require immediate crisis responses and emergency resources, be it in the form of major fires, floodings, incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks, or other accidents and hazards, recognizing also the risks imposed by climate change. It is equally important that we keep on working together to ensure continuous access to global supply chains, in the frames of strengthening our open economies. In light of the pandemic, we also acknowledge the importance of striving to ensure the availability of critical professional labor force, recognizing that in particular for our border regions cross-border mobility is crucial in this respect. The Nordic countries also include very sparsely populated and isolated communities, representing additional challenges to logistics and requiring active coordination between the countries.
Our Nordic welfare societies provide a stable foundation to meet crises situations and unexpected circumstances. Well-functioning institutions, open and transparent structures and high levels of education and equality all feed in to societal resilience, flexibility, and the capability to repel, respond to and bounce back from crisis.
Nordic cooperation is already extensive in many areas that support building more resilient and secure societies. The Nordic Council of Ministers provides a platform to collaborate on many different topics. In addition, other structures are crucial, such as the Haga cooperation on issues related to civil preparedness and rescue services, NORDEFCO with respect to defense, as well as the Svalbard group on health preparedness.
In relation to strengthening civil protection, health preparedness, as well as other aspects of preparedness, we also underline the vital role of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism and the European Health Union, both for the Nordics and on the European level as a whole. It is also worth noting the cooperation among Nordic countries within other formats and contexts, the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement being one example of such arrangements. The Nordic countries can lead by example, thereby contributing to European efforts that are crucial for our resilience and preparedness.
Still, we can do more together. To this end, our national authorities working with questions related to security of supply and preparedness have undertaken to explore together, among other things, the following possible directions with a view to enhanced Nordic cooperation:
- The ways and means of securing information exchange, shared situational awareness and dialogue as early as possible, on all possible scenarios and throughout the entire crisis situation/circumstances;
- Mapping the potential forms of cooperation to best utilize the capacities to prepare for, respond to and manage medical urgencies, thus contributing also to a stronger European preparedness.
- Cooperation within supplies and logistics contingency planning and crisis management;
- Pooling of resources and structures, when feasible and bringing operational synergies;
- Further developing joint exercises and training programs.
To support the endeavor, we have commissioned a baseline study with the task to map the present situation of Nordic cooperation in security of supply and preparedness, as well as to scan for new cooperation potential without duplicating existing structures. Our aim is to become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. Cooperation makes us stronger, better prepared and more secure. We, the Nordics, together.