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The President’s Academic Council discussed internal security matters

A meeting of the President’s Academic Council, chaired by President Rüütel, took place today at Kadriorg.

Deputy Secretary-General for Internal Security of Ministry of the Interior Kalev Timberg introduced a summary of risk assessment of ministries and counties. In his words, Estonia lacks or has inadequately implemented some very important components of crisis management system, such as: coordinated capacity development, regular capacity audits of ministries, and a functioning training system. In the words of Deputy Secretary-General Kalev Timberg, clear designation of tasks and responsibilities of different levels for planning and responding to emergency situations is an issue of key importance. Among problems, Kalev Timberg pointed out that the necessity for risk assessment and crisis management activities has not been sufficiently understood, ministries and counties lack necessary human resources for such activities, and that not enough scientific research has been done in the field of crisis management and risk assessment.

Ülle Madise (LL.M), Chief Auditor of II Audit Department of the State Audit Office spoke about Estonia’s preparedness to act in emergency situations. According to her, in September the State Audit Office will publicize the conclusions of an audit that embraces preparedness to respond to infectious animal diseases, pandemics, marine and coastal pollution, and accidents with vehicles carrying dangerous goods in densely populated areas. But already now, the State Audit Office holds an opinion that Estonia’s emergency response preparedness is inadequate. According to Ülle Madise general observations show that it is necessary to change the way of thinking.

Margus Kreinin, Head of Infrastructure Department of Estonian Informatics Centre made a presentation on Estonia’s data communication system in public administration. He gave a brief overview of the situation of state registers, adding that requirements to the quality of services of common information systems should be agreed upon, and rules of escalation of information communication in crisis situation should be specified. According to Kreinin, in order to manage technological risks, it is necessary to develop duplicate locations of critical information systems.

Member of Academy Ülo Jaaksoo, Chairman of the Management Board of AS Cybernetica gave an overview of internal security related research work. In his words, the goal of research work is internal security capacity enhancement that encompasses three components: people, organisations and other technical means. Academician Jaaksoo proposed the following wording: internal security aims to identify and prevent illegal and intentionally committed malicious acts that are detrimental to people, society, material or immaterial values and infrastructures, and to protect against such acts, mitigation of consequences of such attracts and to guarantee sustainability after the attacks. In the words of Jaaksoo, the five phases of internal security are: identification, prevention, protection, management and restoration.

President Rüütel said that dangerous transit transport has to be removed from densely populated areas, and the danger caused by such transport has to be taken into account when objects of infrastructure are planned and designed. The Head of State emphasised the importance of updating the rules regulating that field and their efficient enforcement.

Member of the Academic Council Kalev Katus introduced a publication of Estonian Interuniversity Population Research Centre: Demographic Development in Estonia, and collections of harmonised vital events and population census statistics by counties for the years 1965-1990.

Following the discussion on internal security matters, the Academic Council reached a conclusion: one of the main tasks of the state is to be prepared for and timely respond to emergency situations. For that purpose, there is a state system of measures, which is based on the Emergency Preparedness Act and other legal acts. The emergency situations that Estonia has experienced so far, have pointed out the problems related to emergency response.

Among other things, the Academic Council made the following proposals:

- To assess the state’s capacity, including the National Defence League, rural municipality and city governments, to fulfil crisis management plans, including the capacity to involve private enterprises and volunteers into emergency management activities and ensure Estonia’s emergency preparedness;
- To create a national internal security programme for preparation of action plans and ensuring their continuous updating and coordination, elaboration of a training system, coordination of rescue, communication and other technology procurement, and carrying out necessary research;
- To coordinate and finance crisis management and other internal security related research through the Foundation for Defence-Related Research, and among other things, to develop cooperation with the European Security Research Programme, the European Defence Agency and NATO Research and Technology Agency.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 17, 2006

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