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Samfunnsikkert2020 thumbThe seventeenth annual Societal Safety and Protection Conference, “Samfunnssikkerhetskonferansen 2020”, was held at the University of Stavanger campus on January 6. This year’s conference theme was, “Together for a Safer Norway”.

The conference brought together experts and practitioners from academia, government, military, industry and other organizations to exchange knowledge and ideas on a wide range of topics surrounding societal safety and security, health, emergency preparedness and risk governance.

Samfunnssikkerhetskonferansen is jointly organized by the County Governor of Rogaland, the University of Stavanger, Stavanger University Hospital, the Rogaland Police District and NATO Joint Warfare Centre (JWC).

This year, German Navy Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack, Commander JWC, was invited to attend the event as a keynote speaker. 

Some of the other keynote speakers included Norwegian Army Major General (Ret.) Kristin Lund (former Deputy Commander of the Norwegian Army Forces Command and former Head of Mission/Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization), Lone Solheim (County Governor of Rogaland), Hans Vik (Rogaland's Chief of Police), Magnus Håkenstad (PhD Scholar) and Per Kristen Brekke (Assistant Director at the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection). 

During his keynote address, Rear Admiral Kaack stressed the importance of national resilience for deterrence against collective threats and in assuring resistance and recovery.

According to NATO, resilience is “a society’s ability to resist and recover easily and quickly from a major shock, such as a natural disaster, failure of critical infrastructure, or a hybrid or armed attack”, while uniting efforts for civil preparedness and military capacity. Therefore, robust resilience through civil preparedness in Allied countries is essential to NATO’s collective security and defence, which forms the basis of the Article 3 of the Alliance’s founding treaty.

Citing the inscription above the Holsten Gate in Lubeck, Germany, “Concordia Domi Foris Pax" (“Unity at Home, Peace Abroad”) dating from 1871, Rear Admiral Kaack noted that the recognition of the importance of resilience was nothing new, as resilience deterred attack. Kaack said, “By committing themselves to be prepared and able to sustain any shock they might suffer, in the form of an armed conflict, the Allies knew that being united and strong at home, Concordia Domi, would limit the likelihood of an attack, or, at least, reduce its impact. This, in addition to the added protection of the collective defence principle of Article 5, would make deterrence a reality.” 

Rear Admiral Kaack also noted that the simulation of national resilience in NATO exercises continued to have a significant impact on the future construct of complex, high-intensity exercises based on Article 5, collective defence. 

Overall, much of the conference focused on the total defence concept, including cyber security and crisis management, from both a military and civilian standpoint, highlighting a more holistic approach to ensure that democracy, freedom and the value of human rights are protected. 

To learn more about the conference (in Norwegian) please visit the link below:

https://www.uis.no/samfunn-og-samarbeid/konferanser-og-moteplasser/konferanser/samfunnssikkerhet-2020/

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