Finland has participated in the NATO Partnership for Peace from the very beginning.
In addition to military and political co-operation, the key objectives of the Partnership for Peace include civil emergency preparedness in all sectors and the functioning of infrastructure. In the co-operation within civil emergency planning, attention is paid to the production and logistics of strategic goods and services, infrastructure, and the systems and methodology applied in preparedness planning. For Finland, the partnership is both a good opportunity for international networking and a source of information on the organisational structures, methodology, and measures employed by other countries.
There are two main dimensions to NATO’s Civil Emergency Planning: While focusing on the protection of the civil population, civil emergency planning is also harnessed to support NATO’s strategic planning in a systematic and effective way. At the same time, the protection of critical infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important area of focus within CEP. The Partnership for Peace states are fully included in the work of the committees, apart from matters related to the alliance’s common defence. The primary purpose of NATO’s civil emergency planning activity is to support the alliance’s crisis-management operations and core functions.
The NATO Civil Emergency Planning Committee (CEPC) steers and co-ordinates the civil emergency planning activities. The sector-specific subcommittees operating under CEPC plan and develop the emergency preparedness arrangements in the various industries. Officials and separately designated experts, mainly from the private sector, in the member and partnership countries participate in the subcommittees’ work. Together with a number of ministries and agencies, NESA officials participate extensively in the work done by the various subcommittees.
Since 1999, a senior expert from NESA has been attached to the Finnish NATO Embassy, charged with civil emergency planning matters. The expert’s main tasks include monitoring the trends and developments in civil emergency planning and the associated reporting; taking part in the meetings, drills, and exercises; and co ordinating Finnish participation in the activities.