February 18, 2020

ICDS Explored Possible Ways to Improve Civilian Access to Food and Emergency Goods Supplies in the Event of a Crisis in Estonia

Õhtuleht/Alar Truu/Scanpix

The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs commissioned the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) to compile a list of civilian food and emergency goods supplies, estimated average amounts of supplies at home and in stores, and calculations for the price of national emergency goods supplies and logistics.

In addition to the quantities of food and industrial goods, the contracting authorities were interested in the legal issues of stockpiling and the possibilities of storage and distribution. Water, fuel, and drug supplies were not covered by the studies.

“Acquiring long-term supplies of food and emergency goods for the entire Estonian population is neither realistic nor reasonable. However, some emergency supplies are needed and management of them should be handled in close public-private cooperation,” noted Ivo Juurvee, one of the authors of the studies and a research fellow at the ICDS. “When acquiring emergency supplies, it should be kept in mind that the most vulnerable are the residents living in the block houses in bigger cities – they have the least supplies at home and no good alternatives to sewerage, gas and central heating.”

In the course of the research, the experts also reviewed the solutions of Finland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and other countries and took into account the recommendations of international organisations. The experience of other countries suggests that involving businesses and maintaining the operation of trading networks in the event of a crisis are of key importance. It is reasonable to organise logistics centrally, as crisis transport cannot be ordered separately by ministries and local authorities.

Recommendations for the division of tasks between the state and local governments:

State-level tasks:

  • • Ensure that the goods required in a crisis situation exist through purchases or pre-contracts.
  • • Ensure the timely delivery of required food products and emergency goods to distribution points in municipalities (e.g. through pre-contracts with logistics companies).
  • • Support local authorities in planning the distribution of goods and test their preparedness by organising special exercises.

Local government-level tasks (preparations for distribution of goods):

  • • Have an overview of the population and where people are.
  • • Coordinate with the state-level to identify the locations of existing and potential additional distribution points that should be situated in the vicinity of shopping centres or other locations people are familiar with visiting.
  • • Plan the local distribution of supplies and find relevant partners.

Click here to download and read the summary of the studies.

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