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News, 3/29/2017

Crisis management improves the Finns’ security

Finland has a long history of participation in peacekeeping and international military crisis management. The central reasons for this are related to foreign and security policy and to the development of Finland's national defence capability. All these factors are assessed when decisions are made about Finland's participation in crisis management operations.

In Mali, the operation is conducted in dangerous conditions, which is why armoured vehicles are necessary. Photo: Annina Barbosa
In Mali, the operation is conducted in dangerous conditions, which is why armoured vehicles are necessary. Photo: Annina Barbosa

Effective crisis management improves the security of Finland and its people and helps to deter threats in our own country. In the countries of operation, crisis management contributes to the safety and functioning of society and creates better foundations for individual lives. Crisis management combines Finland’s own interest, which is a more limited factor, and the effort to create a fairer world.

Participation in crisis management develops national defence

Military crisis management strengthens the capabilities and preparedness of Finnish Defence Forces. From the viewpoint of the development of the defence capability, it is important that Finland deploys at least one large contingent into an operation at any given time.

Participation in these operations provides Finland opportunities to measure its activities against other countries’ capabilities and to learn from them. It also enhances Finland’s own capabilities and improves the ability to collaborate with our most important partners. Operations allow us to test modes of operation and equipment in field conditions.

Additionally, crisis management operations are also valuable in light of the development of the Defence Forces’ special capabilities. Finland has gained experience of, for example, chemical weapons and the handling of material used for them by participating in the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons in the Mediterranean Sea.

Cooperation with our partners in crisis management operations also shapes the picture of Finland as a security actor. We can present our own international knowledge and competence and illustrate Finland’s credible defence.

Participation promotes Finland's foreign and security policy objectives

Finland’s foreign policy aims to strengthen our international position, safeguard Finland’s independence and regional integrity, and to improve the security and wellbeing of Finns. Finland promotes international stability, peace, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equality. Military crisis management helps, for its part, to implement these objectives.

Airplanes and helicopters are among the most important equipment for MINUSMA and therefore targets of attack for terrorists. Photo: Annina Barbosa
Airplanes and helicopters are among the most important equipment for MINUSMA and therefore targets of attack for terrorists. Photo: Annina Barbosa

Finland is known as a country with a high level of expertise also in the area of crisis management. It is important from the point of view of international cooperation that the developed countries not only provide funding but also take part in crisis management. The developing countries cannot be burdened to be the only ones to take responsibility for crisis management. Finnish soldiers’ participation is a sign of solidarity, which is useful for Finland in international forums.

One of Finland’s foreign policy priorities is respect for a world order that is based on jointly agreed norms and agreements. Participation in crisis management is one way to invest in an effective rules-based international system and the development of common security.

Prevention of conflicts contributes to security also in Finland

In a global world, internal and external security are more closely linked together than earlier. Participation in crisis management in the world’s hotspots enables us to prevent threats also on our own soil. The fundamental reasons for terrorism and organised crime, such as human trafficking and drug trafficking, are rooted in conflict regions.

The biggest groups of people seeking asylum in Finland come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia. Finland is involved in operations in three of these countries. The current situation in Syria does not enable a crisis management operation in the area. Wars and conflicts force people to flee from their home regions. Crisis management aims to decrease people’s need to leave their homes.

Finland wants to see the European Union develop into a security community and is actively trying to develop the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It is natural for Finland to exercise an active role also in practical crisis management work. Finland’s active participation in the operations gains more weight when the Union negotiates the development of the CSDP.

Otto Stenius

The author works at the Unit for Security Policy and Crisis Management, where he is responsible for matters relating to comprehensive crisis management.

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Updated 3/14/2017

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