Research planned to be performed in the field of critical infrastructure in the Baltic States and Norway
On Tuesday, 25 June, the Cabinet of Ministers has reviewed the informative notification prepared by the Ministry of Finance regarding the proposal on the initiative of the Fund for Bilateral Relations of the European Economic Area and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms 2014 - 2021.
Proposal on the initiative of the Fund for Bilateral Relations "Norwegian and Baltic Research Network. Critical Infrastructure*: Institutional Coordination and Policy Preferences" is the initiative proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The promoter thereof will be the association Latvian Institute of International Affairs, in collaboration with Lithuanian, Estonian and Norwegian institutes.
The aim of the initiative is to compare the critical infrastructure protection policies and the communication of the state regarding the critical infrastructure in the Baltic States and Norway, and to provide practical recommendations for improving communication and clarifying the issue of critical infrastructure. Results of the research will be compiled in a book. It will be publicly available and will be useful as working and reference material for both public and private sector, inter alia, journalists, experts and students. It is also planned to hold public discussions (workshops) in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn and Oslo, where the relevance of the critical infrastructure aspect for the functioning of a modern society will be discussed. Hence the aim of the research itself is not only to provide proposals for improving the critical infrastructure protection policies, but also to improve communication regarding this phenomenon, for it to invoke the feeling of safety in society and to promote confidence as to the work of authorities for the purposes of protecting the state and population, as well as pragmatic involvement of the population itself in ensuring the protection of critical infrastructure.
Expected funding of the initiative comprises 187 thousand euro. It will be financed in the amount of 100% from the funding of the Donor States - Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The initiative is planned to be launched in the middle of this year and the results of the research are expected at the end of 2020.
The initiative has already been conceptually supported in the Advisory Working Group of the Fund for Bilateral Relations. In line with the established procedure, before submitting the initiative for adoption of the final decision on the part of the Donor States, it is necessary to review it in the government.
On 14 December 2017, the Memoranda of Understanding have been signed between Latvia and the Donor States - Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein. They, inter alia, provide for the financing from the Fund for Bilateral Relations in the amount of 2.4 million euro or 2.4% of the total allocation of the Donor States for Latvia (102.1 million euro). Fund for Bilateral Relations is intended for implementation of various cooperation initiatives, for example, joint studies, conferences, exchange of experience and other activities by 30 April 2025, for the purposes of strengthening bilateral relations between Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Latvia. More information regarding the Fund for Bilateral Relations is available on the website: https://www.eeagrants.lv/?id=134.
* Critical infrastructure is considered to entail the objects, systems or the parts thereof located in the relevant country, which are essential for ensuring the functioning of vital societal functions, protection of human health, safety, security, economic and social well-being of people, and disruptions in the functioning or destruction whereof would significantly affect the relevant country, as it would no longer be able to ensure the fulfilment of these functions.