Suomi talk disaster preparedness with Namibian authorities
Windhoek – A large group of Finnish chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives experts is in the country to draw up a roadmap for future collaboration between Finland and Namibia to put in place a comprehensive set of disaster management strategies.
For the duration of the week, Finnish Ambassador, HE Anne Saloranta facilitated expert team discussions between the Finnish experts and their designated Namibian counterparts, as well as companies in the private sector, with a view to develop concrete responses to prevent and contain disasters arising from any of the volatile agents. The discussion took place at the residence of the ambassador.
Senior Partner of Societal Security Solutions Juha Rautjärvi said that the outcome of the visit is expected to lead to identification of gaps in capability and capacity that would provide a basis for concrete collaboration, actions and tasks to further improve the security infrastructure and operations in Namibia.
According to Krister Liljegren, the Area Manager of Environics Ltd., the event was an excellent opportunity to get to know each other and to exchange experiences and information about the capabilities deemed necessary to provide for the protection of civil society in general.
The purpose of the visit is to inform local authorities in whose jurisdictions volatile substances are present in large quantities about the operative concepts and technological solutions used by the Finnish authorities. The discussions also revolved around the technical capability of the various industries to deliver the required services and actions.
All safety and security issues relating to the potential threat from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives agents were discussed leading to the identification of areas where local structures and agencies are not able to handle disruptive, unforeseen events.
In particular, the Finnish team of experts is keen on learning about local conditions and capabilities. With many of these volatile substances daily being produced or used by Namibian commercial enterprises, the Finns needed to get an clear picture of the existing emergency response capacity and the ability of local agencies to manage the consequences of a disaster.
The Finnish Embassy said Finland and especially the Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) has good experience in collaborating with the Namibian authorities to help to develop the uranium mining policies and safeguards including the elements of current non-proliferation treaties. This programme is funded by the Finnish Foreign Ministry.
The Finnish team extended an invitation to their Namibian counterparts to visit Finland later this year to acqaint themselves with Finnish operative practices and technological solutions designed to protect the environment and to guarantee public safety. Included in these discussions will the protection of critical infrastructure like public buildings, hospitals, radio transmitters, airports, railways and harbours.
“Ideally, this type of cooperation would be coordinated with other regional and international parties, including the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Commission” stated the embassy.