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Questions and answers on security of supply
- Involves cooperation between various organisations to maintain the basic economic functions of society. Securing a sufficient labour workforce supports the security of supply.
- Involves measures to safeguard the livelihoods of the population, the continuity of the essential economy, the material requirements of national defence, and the minimum infrastructure needs.
- Is based on the natural structures of the economy, i.e. the functioning of the market, a competitive economy, and the ability of business and industry to adapt to unexpected situations.
- Is closely tied to well-functioning international political, economic and technological connections, and their continuity.
- Is created and maintained in Finland through effective co-operation between public and private sectors.
- Consists of administrative guidance, preparedness in business and industry, and pre-planned arrangements to ensure security of supply.
The following principles are applied:
- The Security of Supply Act applies to economic activities. Every effort is made to keep activities close to normal for as long as possible in abnormal or emergency conditions. Almost all disruptions and crises have financial implications.
- From the security of supply perspective, the original cause or nature of the disruption is irrelevant; what matters is how it affects the flow of goods and ultimately the livelihoods of the population.
- Problems with supply and demand, as well as other business interruptions, financial losses, or discomfort and distress experienced by citizens do not necessarily put the security of supply at risk even if the impacts on economy, business and customers may be significant.
- A wide range of continuously updated mechanisms are in place to ensure the security of supply, including legislation, continuity management, material security of supply, operational preparedness of companies and public administration, strategic ownership, and international agreements.
- Approximately every five years, the Government issues general objectives for security of supply (security of supply strategy; current 1048/2018), which define, among other things, the priorities for near-term development for the security of supply organisation, critical priority sectors in terms of security of supply, and the level of preparedness, taking into account the minimum needs of the population, the essential economy, and national defence.
- To ensure security of supply in all conditions, sufficient preparedness to produce goods must be achieved and maintained, and preparedness to steer production, distribution, consumption and foreign trade.
- It is currently not possible to safeguard all the key economic functions of society with national arrangements only.
- In situations where the market mechanism (economic resources) fails to provide sufficient security of supply, and the authorities’ powers under normal conditions are not sufficient to manage the incident, the authorities may resort to additional powers provided in the Emergency Powers Act.
According to the Security of Supply Act (1390/1992), each ministry is responsible for developing the security of supply in its own sector. The ministries are responsible, in their own sectors, for steering and monitoring the implementation of security of supply, and for developing operational capability, as well as for making the necessary legislative changes in situations where the markets are unable to sufficiently ensure security of supply. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for the overall development of security of supply and the coordination of preparedness measures. The National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) is in charge of the development and operational maintenance of security of supply, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for the steering and supervision of the Agency.
The National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) is tasked with analysing the current status of the country’s security of supply, maintaining awareness of security of supply and the related requirements in public discussion and decision-making, as well as executive tasks. NESA’s mandate and expertise are intersectoral and cover all areas of security of supply. The agency’s operations are managed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Government.
NESA is responsible for state emergency stockpiling, for promoting and coordinating the preparedness of the authorities to steer the economy in emergency conditions, for promoting preparedness planning in companies, and for ensuring the functioning of society’s technical infrastructure. It takes measures to ensure the production of essential goods and services in times of crises, analyses threats to security of supply, and produces plans for countermeasures. International cooperation represents an increasingly large part of NESA’s activities.
Effective cooperation between public authorities and the business community create and maintain security of supply in Finland. Finland has a long history of safeguarding security of supply through an extensive collaboration and expert network that covers different sectors of business and industry, administrative sectors and industry organisations. This partnership model provides a modern and cost-effective method for ensuring preparedness and security of supply.
The current organisation is not a 24/7 emergency response organisation but first and foremost a preparedness organisation. It focuses on ensuring the best possible preparedness for any incidents and emergencies.
The system is based on a networked organisation of experts from different administrative and industry sectors that operates in line with the principle of public private partnership to maintain and build the security of supply. This partnership model provides a modern and cost-effective method for managing threats to security of supply.
Various sectors and pools operate in conjunction with the National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) as permanent cooperation bodies. The sectors are industry-specific organisations that promote cooperation between business and industry and public authorities. The security of supply sectors are 1. food supply 2. energy supply 3. logistics 4. healthcare 5. finance and 6. industry. Members of the sectors include representatives of ministries, central agencies, business and industry organisations and key companies. Pools are industry-led bodies that are responsible for operational preparedness under sectoral guidance.
Despite the digitalisation of society, material security of supply remains an important part of the ever-expanding and diversifying range of means to ensure security of supply.
National Emergency Supply Agency is responsible for state emergency stockpiling for a severe crisis. State emergency stockpiles contain imported fuels, cereals, hospital supplies, medicines, alloys, chemicals and critical imported raw materials. NESA also keeps compulsory stockpiles of imported fuels and medicines in preparation for a serious disruption in availability. Security stockpiling helps to secure the livelihood of the population and the production of companies in conditions where the supply of essential raw materials and other materials is disrupted.
The operations of the National Emergency Supply Agency are based on an off-budget National Emergency Supply Fund. This Fund is used to finance emergency stockpiling, technical backup arrangements, safeguarding critical infrastructure, preparedness planning for places of business critical for security of supply, and the operational expenses of NESA.
Thanks to its solvency and agility, the National Emergency Supply Fund can reliably ensure long-term security of supply.
In normal situations, healthcare providers procure protective equipment and other materials they need through established procurement channels as part of their statutory preparedness obligation. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is the responsible party in these matters. Under the current emergency conditions, NESA offers support for this high volume procurement, and is actively procuring protective equipment from foreign suppliers at the request of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and coordinates the procurement of protective equipment by different actors.
Under the current emergency conditions, launching domestic procurement will significantly improve the availability of the necessary materials.
Some specialised medical care services are organised across hospital district boundaries, based on the catchment areas for highly specialised medical care of the university hospitals. Provisions on these specific catchment areas have been issued in Government Decree, as have the interlinkages between hospital districts and specific catchment areas.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, together with the Finnish business and industry, research institutes and other authorities, have explored opportunities for producing protective materials in Finland. Dozens of domestic manufacturers have been identified who are interested and capable of manufacturing either respiratory protective devices or protective garments.
The primary objective is to launch the manufacture of surgical masks and respiratory protective devices in Finland. At the moment, respiratory protective equipment are not manufactured in Finland.
The challenge in launching large-scale domestic production quickly was the lack of required machinery and raw materials. Now, at least two domestic companies are preparing to launch the production of protective equipment, with the aim of launching high-volume production in a tight schedule.
Finland is better equipped to launch the manufacture of protective clothing since there are companies in Finland that currently manufacture protective suits, caps and gloves. Many companies have also started making visors.
Ensuring security of supply requires continuous, extensive and goal-oriented dialogue and cooperation between different actors and sectors.
When procuring protective materials, the National Emergency Supply Agency works in close cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finland’s missions abroad. With their local knowledge and contacts, missions are able to provide prestige services that open doors to local authorities, companies and other actors in the host country. Their support is used where necessary to carry out the procurement or quality assurance, or for other reasons.
International cooperation plays a central role when it comes to safeguarding the security of supply through effective international political, economic and technical connections and their continuity. Finland takes an active part in the promotion of health security in international contexts.
Finland coordinates its activities in collaboration with other countries, especially in the EU. Health matters fall under the Member States’ competence, but ongoing cooperation with the EU is important for ensuring joint material supplies, monitoring intersectoral exchange of information, coordinating risk analyses, and finding ways to tackle the coronavirus. Finland engages in close cooperation with the other Nordic countries especially in consular matters and in the repatriation of travellers from around the world.
The aim is to maintain, despite the restrictions imposed by the countries, free freight traffic also during a crisis and to ensure that production materials, foods and such other vital products as medicines move between countries.
The coronavirus pandemic shows that multilateral cooperation is needed more than ever before in today’s world that is characterised by global interdependence. Finland considers that the cooperation within the EU is particularly important in efforts to improve crisis resilience, and advocates the strengthening of the WHO in order to be better prepared for future pandemics, among other things.
Finland has been working for years to strengthen international health security, including through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which was established after the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Finland supports the WHO and grants core funding to other UN agencies for use especially in countries where the need of assistance is greatest. Finland supports the development of a coronavirus vaccine by funding international non-profit organisations.