Published 19.01.2023

The National Emergency Supply Agency at its 30th anniversary seminar: civil society preparedness needs to be elevated alongside military national defence

The National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) emphasises the importance of safeguarding the functions of civic society alongside military national defence. In the NESA’s opinion, the changed global situation requires Finland to step up its preparedness and allocate more resources for maintaining it. The matter was highlighted at the National Emergency Supply Agency’s 30th anniversary seminar in Helsinki. The NESA is also currently looking into stockpiling cooperation with Sweden.

1 January 2023 marked the 30th anniversary of the founding of Finland’s National Emergency Supply Agency. The history of security of supply in Finland is even longer than this, with the country having continued to maintain its security of supply even during times when many other countries proceeded to scale back their preparedness.

The main theme of the anniversary seminar to be held in Helsinki on 19 January is the impact of the changed global situation on Finland’s security of supply and preparedness. CEO Janne Känkänen of the National Emergency Supply Agency emphasises that comprehensive security and national defence require the functions of civil society to be effectively safeguarded as well; military capability alone is not enough. The situation in Ukraine is an effective illustration of this.

“The new threats that we now face are ample reason to examine security of supply in comparison to the organisation and resource allocation of military national defence. In fact, it would make sense to start viewing security of supply increasingly as the counterpart of military national defence in civil society,” Känkänen states.

The operating environment of security of supply has changed a great deal in recent years, requiring security of supply professionals and decision-makers to demonstrate both far-sighted wisdom and the capacity for rapid adaptation. Only by doing so can Finland ensure that society will keep functioning and life will continue with minimal disruptions during crises.

Joint stockpiling with Sweden being looked into

“In the current global operating environment, it is impossible for any nation to survive all on its own. Whilst horrible, Ukraine’s experience demonstrates this vividly: Ukraine’s success so far in maintaining and upholding, to the extent possible, its critical infrastructure, keeping it operating, has depended on their ability to interact and co-operate with international partners. This is a skill that Finland needs to maintain as well,” Känkänen says.

One of the concrete ways in which the National Emergency Supply Agency is doing so is by looking into the possibility of joint stockpiling with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). A report on the matter is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

This joint project between Finland and Sweden will also be touched upon by Director General Charlotte Petri Gornitzka of the MSB in her talk at the seminar. The seminar will also include a talk by Director Sarah Tarry from NATO HQ on the development of NATO’s civilian crisis management and resilience work and Finland’s role in it.

In addition to this, the NESA’s 30th anniversary seminar will feature a panel discussion by Finland’s five largest political parties on what kind of preparedness is needed in today’s changed world and a talk by the Director General of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) Jyri Häkämies on the role of the private sector as the guarantor of security of supply. The seminar will be opened by the Minister of Employment of Finland Tuula Haatainen.

A new logo and visual appearance for the NESA

The NESA will also be adopting a new visual appearance and logo on the day of the seminar. The new logo is illustrative of the National Emergency Supply Agency’s mission of keeping society’s wheels turning even during crises and disruptions. The new visual appearance features shades of green and purple.

The old blue-coloured visual appearance and logo have served the agency well for ten years. In recent years, the National Emergency Supply Agency has put a great deal of effort into developing its operations, and it is only natural for the resulting changes to be reflected in the agency’s visuals as well. The logos of the National Emergency Supply Organisation’s (NESO) pools are also consistent with the new updated look.

The full speech of CEO Janne Känkänen