Published 14.02.2023

Finland’s national risk assessment maps out potential risks and supports preparedness

The Ministry of the Interior has published an updated national risk assessment. The previous risk assessment was published in 2018, after which several changes have taken place in Finland’s operating environment. The national risk assessment anticipates sudden incidents targeted at Finland that have an impact on the vital functions of society and require the authorities to adopt exceptional measures or even request help from other countries.

The national risk assessment describes the changes in Finland’s operating environment and their impact on various potential national threats and disruptions. Examples of such risks include information influence activities, the use of military force, disruptions in energy supply, and threats related to health security.

“Preparing a national risk assessment is part of normal preparedness work that seeks to identify potential risks and anticipate their impact on society. The more we are aware of the different risks, the interdependencies of different functions, and the possibility of repeated disruptions, the better we can prepare for them,” says Jussi Korhonen, Director, Civil Emergency Preparedness.

Underlying the preparation of the risk assessment is the EU Civil Protection Mechanism that obliges all EU countries to develop their risk assessments and report on them to the Commission on a regular basis.

Changes in foreign and security policy and global challenges transforming the operating environment

A principal change to the 2018 risk assessment is the updating of the description and assessment of the operating environment and risks. Changes in the operating environment are directly reflected in Finland’s international position and in the wellbeing and safety of its population.

Foreign and security policy changes, especially Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have destabilised Finland’s foreign and security policy position. Climate change, the digitalisation of societies, hybrid influence activities and networked value and production chains are further examples of development trends and phenomena in the operating environment of threats and disruptions.

The national risk assessment covers a total of 21 nationally significant threat scenarios and disruptions that are estimated to have an impact on the vital functions of society. With regard to each risk, the potential ways of its realisation, for example, and its targets and impact are all assessed. The risks examined are mostly the same as in the previous report.

Risk assessment supports preparedness – national assessment supplemented by regional risk assessments

The objective of the national risk assessment is to lend support to the preparedness of various organisations. The risk assessment is not an exhaustive list of various kinds of risks, and it does not include a description of preparedness measures or potential responses to risks. Each operator should analyse the risks in more detail as part of their own preparedness activities in relation to their own industry and tasks.

At the regional level, regional risk assessments are prepared as a separate process, and they are due for completion during March 2023. Regional risk assessments supplement the national risk assessment and provide a more detailed view of the potential risks and preparedness needs of different regions.

The risk assessment now completed has been prepared in extensive cooperation with various organisations during 2022−2023. The risk assessment is linked to national preparedness and lays the foundation for preparedness in line with the Security Strategy for Society.