Valokuva oikeusministeriön kansliapäällikkö Pekka Timosesta.

Pekka Timonen

Comprehensive Security #4: From Preparedness to Readiness – The Challenge of Public Leadership When Black Swans Appear

Dear listeners!

Before the current coronavirus pandemic, we thought that using the emergency preparedness law would be rigid and difficult. Now we know that activating the preparedness law was not a problem: a state of emergency has been declared twice now, without the law being an obstacle or a slowdown.

Our key challenge for the future is that the country’s government must be able to lead during emergencies. It is not sustainable for authorities to lead very independently within their sectors and fields, while at the same time having very little clarity about national leadership and its direction.

It is not enough for us to reform the emergency preparedness law. We must also be able to reform management structures, and build management models that genuinely take into account the management of threats and crises. In my opinion, our aim should be a phenomenon-based rather than sector-based legislation, so that capabilities can be exercised where necessary, instead of on the basis of different concepts and definitions. What should be important is how serious and what kind of a crisis we have, not into which compartment of the emergency preparedness law it falls.

When looking to the future, it is essential to remember that none of us knew in advance what kind of pandemic management we would need. Nor do any of us know what kind of black swan is next. Therefore, we must now also prepare for the unknown, and not just for repetition of the already known.

Pekka Timonen
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Justice

(English translation by the Secretariat of the Security Committee.)