Marit Endresen is looking into the camera and smiling

The key to societal security is cooperation

Marit Endresen is Director of the Department for Knowledge Development and Digitalization at the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB).

Her job involves collaborating with the entire Nordic region on joint knowledge exchange and emergency preparedness to address current societal security challenges.

Societal security and preparedness is about gaining an overview. We need insight from across disciplines, sectors, administrative levels, countries and regions. The world is changing rapidly in ways we must take seriously, and the key to facing these changes is cooperation.

Marit Endresen

“Research is very valuable to our work,” says Marit Endresen. “Not only within societal security, but in other disciplines such as climate research.”

Marit Endresen emphasises that DSB finds Nordic cooperation on societal security very valuable. She says DSB engages in close, effective cooperation with the other Nordic societal security authorities and benefits greatly from this cooperation in areas such as hazardous substances, fighting forest fires, and emergency communications.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has also been close and steady cooperation between the Nordic authorities for societal security. The focus has been on sharing our situational overview and exchanging experiences.”

National borders cannot stop a crisis, so the most important thing for DSB is for the Nordic countries to stand together and take advantage of their common capacities, knowledge and resources for the benefit of all Nordic residents. This research collaboration is an example of how, together, the Nordic countries gain insight and develop a common scientific basis.

DSB co-funds NordForsk’s Nordic Societal Security Programme, which currently administers 13 research projects with a total budget of over NOK 200 million.

Video: Interview with Marit Endresen

The Nordic region and international cooperation

“Nordic cooperation has proved particularly important in recent years as a result of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism,” continues Marit Endresen. “The Nordic societal security authorities have joined forces to draw up a plan to boost Nordic rescEU reserve capacities. These are EU-funded emergency preparedness resources that can be deployed to deal with major disasters in the Nordic countries as well as Europe.”

Ms Endresen believes that since in an international context the Nordic countries are small, it is useful for them to be able to work together to present their common challenges to the EU and others. Countries outside the Nordic region also take part in the Nordic Societal Security Programme. According to Ms Endresen, there are only advantages to Nordic countries cooperating with countries outside the region.

“Societal security and preparedness is about gaining an overview. We need insight from across disciplines, sectors, administrative levels, countries and regions. The world is changing rapidly in ways we must take seriously, and the key to facing these changes is cooperation.”

NordForsk's research programme on societal security

In the interdisciplinary research programme on societal security, researchers in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands collaborate to produce new knowledge about vulnerabilities, resilience and preparedness.