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Comprehensive security


In the report of the vision working group of eastern Finland, one of the measures to increase the vitality of the region is the establishment of a comprehensive security competence centre in Eastern Finland. Kuopio is ready to take on the responsibility for initiating the preparation process and offer its strong expertise in the development of comprehensive security for the benefit of Finland.

Comprehensive security is Finnish preparedness and cooperation in which the vital functions of society are looked after through cooperation between the authorities, business community, organizations and citizens. The goal of preparedness is to safeguard the vital functions of society and ensure their ability to function in disruptions to normal conditions and in emergency conditions.

If the comprehensive security competence centre proposed by the vision working group of eastern Finland were established in Kuopio, it would increase the vitality of all of Eastern Finland and enhance regional security. Through its functions, the centre would improve the preparedness and security of Finland as a whole. It would also produce nationally and internationally high-level research and training in the various areas of comprehensive security.

“We could turn the concept into an international export, if we wanted to. Our world-class competence centre could produce scientific knowledge on issues of comprehensive security and security of supply that are significant on a NATO and EU level,” says Mayor of Kuopio Soile Lahti.

Source: The Security Committee / Vital functions

Kuopio possesses strong security expertise

The functions that are vital for Finland have been divided into seven categories in the Security Strategy for Society. Kuopio possesses exceptionally strong expertise in many of them. For example, several educational institutions conduct research on comprehensive security either independently or together with others.

A key national actor that is based in Kuopio is the Emergency Services Academy Finland, which trains professionals in safety and security. The Academy is also the only educational institution in Finland that has a statutory mandate to provide preparedness training.

“We engage in research, development and innovation activities and can directly apply the findings and results of these activities in our training,” says Principal of the Emergency Services Academy Finland Mervi Parviainen.

In addition to conventional training, the Academy also has the capacity to organize drills to see how various approaches work in practice, for instance. The national role of the Academy is crucial in terms of the competence centre, as it supports regional thinking and vice versa.

In addition to various educational institutions, there are also research and expert organizations in Kuopio that could support the activities of the competence centre. These include the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, which all produce knowledge in areas that are relevant for security of supply and comprehensive security. The Karelia Air Wing also has its base in the region, and the authorities work in close cooperation.

Other partners are welcome

Soile Lahti has established a working group to prepare the comprehensive security competence centre. Individuals from various organizations have been invited to join the group. The group is currently working on a potential approach and a societal narrative for the competence centre.

“What this means in practice is defining the societal problem that the centre will address, how it would respond and what would be the next steps in the short and long term. We want to make things more concrete and lay the groundwork carefully,” says Lahti.

The centre would bring vitality to the region – both to Kuopio and to the wider Eastern Finland. The idea is not to just bring together the expertise that the region has to offer, but to also invite other partners from all over Finland to get involved.

Comprehensive Security Cluster in North Savo project

Comprehensive Security Cluster, a project managed by the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo, and the competence centre, which may be established in the city of Kuopio, support each other and are both based on the concrete measures proposed in the vision for Eastern Finland. The Comprehensive Security Cluster project of the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo has received earmarked funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland.

“Various security-related themes come together in this project through different businesses and educational institutions,” says Chair of the Regional Board Mira Kokkonen from the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo.

Development focuses primarily on the perspective of industrial policy and is based on the priority industries and the existing clusters in North Savo. According to Kokkonen, the food safety and water expertise in the region, for instance, are directly linked to comprehensive security.

Text: Minna Akiola

This article was first published in Kuopio by Nature.

Kuopio by Nature is available at Issuu.