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Project implementation period: 1 January, 2019 –  31 December, 2020

Project No: 826529

Project partners, 7 EU member states in Baltic Sea macro-region: Finnish Red Cross (leading organization), Danish Red Cross, Estonian Red Cross, Latvian Red Cross, Lithuanian Red Cross, Polish Red Cross, German Red Cross. Russian and Swedish Red Cross are invited to participate in the implementation process.

The general objective: to improve and optimize quality and interoperability of the Red Cross and Civil Protection Authorities regional response capacity for major accidents and severe disruptions.

The project is implemented in: Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Context & overall objectives

The Baltic Sea region (BSR) covers a significant area of northern Europe and its EU member countries representing nearly a fifth of the EU population. Over the past few years, issues of preparedness have emerged strongly in the region. The BALTPREP – Enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region project improves and optimizes quality and interoperability of the Red Cross and Civil Protection Authorities regional response capacity for major accidents and severe disruptions. The project strengthens collaboration in and between 7 EU member states: Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Work planned & main achievements

BALTPREP includes wide range of activities in the field of regional preparedness. By the end of the project, the participating countries will benefit from a better understanding of existing response capacities and assets around the region, more trained staff and volunteers, and importantly, a solid sub-regional framework for preparedness by established working groups (i.e. DM-TWG) and preparedness planning to ensure sustainability. At the end of the project, the regional response capacities are tested in a table-top exercise to capture findings and lessons learnt for further regional development.

Results & impacts

As result of BALTPREP, capacities and interoperability in Psychosocial Support (PSS) in emergencies will be increased, co-operation between civil protection and humanitarian aid actors will be enhanced and trans-border and macro regional co-operation will be improved. The activities take place in participating countries. The project involves staff, volunteers and international aid workers from each RCNS in addition to the Civil Protection Authorities. Civil Protection Authorities, communities and the Red Cross National Societies in participating countries benefit from improved coordination, quality and interoperability of existing response capacities and more efficient and standardized assistance in case of an emergency.

The project is funded by European Union within Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid program. Budget: 0,6M EUR (75 % EU Contribution, 25% funded by Red Cross national societies).

Project Manager for the Latvian Red Cross is Ms. Agnese Trofimova, for more information, please contact her by e-mail: agnese.trofimova@redcross.lv or by phone: + 371 67686312.


LatRC joins international project “BALTPREP” team meeting online

Published on 21.05.2020.

Although the restrictions of COVID-19 continue, work on the project “BALTPREP – enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region” continues, with the aim to increase the preparedness and response to emergencies in the Baltic Sea Region.

The project team, representing 7 countries, continues to work on the planning of project activities and the implementation of previously set goals, but, while keeping safe, the project team actively communicates through online communication channels.

On May 20, 2020, the representatives of the Latvian Red Cross (LatRC) joined the online meeting, where international emergency response training was planned. A training will be held in Latvia in October 2020.

The meeting included:

the discussion about the location of the training and various related aspects;
the planning of training activities;
discussion about other planned project activities and each Red Cross national society`s domestic response to COVID-19.


Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Baltic Sea Region 

Published on 16.04.2020.

The rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in recent history. It is not only a public health crisis but also a humanitarian crisis that will impact the lives, health and livelihoods of people around the world. In the Baltic Sea region, Red Cross National Societies support national authorities in preparing and responding to the pandemic.

National Societies are sharing experiences

Preparing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging long-term operation to the Red Cross National Societies in the Baltic Sea region. It has special characteristics such as the implementation of Emergency Powers Law and restrictions which also affect the work of the Red Cross.

In the Baltic Sea Region, the Red Cross Societies have an important role in offering psychosocial support and helping the most vulnerable people during this crisis. They also must deal with the important issue of safety of their volunteers. The participating National Societies to the BALTPREP project have been sharing their experiences and insights into the COVID-19 actions. The aim of the project is to enhance region-wide cooperation and capacity in responding to major disasters in the Baltic Sea region. Depending on the country and the situation of the pandemic, National Societies have been engaging in various activities and operations.

In Germany, there has been a steep rise in the number of infections. So far the German Red Cross headquarters has mainly been involved in three operations, commissioned by the federal authorities in the country. The Red Cross volunteers and staff have for example hosted returnees quarantined for 14 days. Catering, leisure activities and psychosocial support were organized for people and their access to medical services was ensured or provided by the Red Cross. Further, German Red Cross branches are helping to organize various activities, such as emergency day care for children, fever check-ups, supporting the testing of people for Covid-19, running or supporting quarantine accommodations and assistance for people in home quarantine.

In Latvia, a state of emergency was declared at the beginning of March. In co-operation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the World Health Organization, and in response to the recommendations of the Latvian authorities, Latvian Red Cross is providing information about the prevention of getting infected with the virus and what to do if a person has been infected etc. We are also offering support of volunteers who would buy food for people who are in quarantine or isolated, however there are not many requests for it. Latvian Red Cross is providing all the classical services (e.g., home service, all shelter and social centres are running) as those services cannot be done remotely or digitally.

The Latvian Red Cross is actively communicating on prevention, carrying out health promotion activities and supporting people in quarantine.

Estonia is also in state of emergency and the Estonian Red Cross has been working as an auxiliary to the authorities by screening thermal cameras, distributing information materials and providing health counseling, if needed, at Tallinn port passenger terminals and Tallinn Airport during two weeks. The Estonian Red Cross is also supporting local authorities in needs-based support such as food delivery to the elderly living alone, distribution of information materials and other community support aimed at the most vulnerable at branch level. A state of emergency has been declared also in Poland, where the actions of the Polish Red Cross concentrate on the promotion of blood donations by branches on the Internet and social media and continuing the implementation of a food aid programme. The Polish Red Cross provides home care services, and psychosocial support. A psychosocial support helpline is also in place. Webinars are organized especially to engage young volunteers and make them stay at home.

Many restrictions are taking place in Denmark, too. The Danish Red Cross is supporting authorities and carrying out Red Cross stand-alone operations. The auxiliary role includes participating in a call center, where various authorities have come together to activate a hotline for questions around the situation. Volunteers and interested people have been mobilized for this operation. At the call centre, the needs are currently shifting from providing symptoms related information to offering psychological support to those especially worried about the situation. The Danish Red Cross has also established a social online network for people hit by COVID-19, many of whom are already in a vulnerable position. Further, Danish Red Cross volunteers support people in running errands and help to match those who need help with those who want to help. The Danish Red Cross also distributes support packages to prisoners and homeless people and ensures health care and safe/protected quarantine possibilities to undocumented migrants.

In Finland, the state of emergency continues, and the Finnish Red Cross is supporting the most vulnerable groups as requested by the authorities. On request, the Red Cross provides hospitals with Triage units to enhance the capacity to assess people’s need for treatment. Volunteers support elderly and other vulnerable people. Support is offered online and by phone, as volunteers trained in psychosocial support help those troubled by the situation. The Finnish Red Cross Youth Shelters run a chat service for youth in cooperation with two associations. Communication, publishing information on the COVID-19 and sharing messages of the authorities, also play an essential role.

BALTPREP project has strengthened the capacity of the Red Crosses in the Baltic Sea region

The joint project of the Red Cross National Societies of the Baltic Sea Region, BALTPREP, strengthens regional preparedness and response capacity in the Baltic Sea Region. The project has also strengthened the capacity of the National Societies in providing psychosocial support and in management of spontaneous volunteers. This knowledge and learning have proved to be especially useful for the COVID response as the countries have seen a rise in people wanting to help and spontaneously volunteer for the Red Cross. During this extraordinary and difficult time, psychosocial support is also needed widely.

The project has strengthened the cooperation and collaboration between the National Societies and with civil protection authorities in the region, and in this way has facilitated sharing of learning, which is having a positive effect on the response in the different countries.


LatRC joins international project “BALTPREP” team meeting online

Published on 06.04.2020.

During the hard times of responding to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in the World, the Red Cross national societies are continuing to work in providing support to people in need locally and also by working on international projects. One of such projects where activities are ongoing is “BALTPREP” – its goal is to increase the emergency preparedness and response in the Baltic Sea Region.

The project team continues working on planning the activities and achieving the set goals. But, within the limiting the spread of the COVID-19 and to reduce the risk of infection, project team is planning project activities and events virtually by using available online tools.

In 24 – 25 March, 2020 representatives of the Latvian Red Cross who are participating in “BALTPREP” joined international online project meeting – steering group

During two days, participants discussed:

  1. Update from each National Society on BALTPREP issues;
  2. Update from each National Society on response to COVID-19 pandemic;
  3. Flagship status of project that the European Commission has granted it:
  4. Next important dates and activities within the project activity plan.

Overview of Red Cross Capacities in the Baltic Sea Region is available

Published on 03.04.2020.

German Red Cross, in collaboration with Project partners, has issued an Overview of Red Cross Capacities in the Baltic Sea Region within the international project “BALTPREP – enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region”.

This document provides an overview of the capacities of the Red Cross National Societies of the Baltic Sea Region as they currently are. It is hoped that the document will provide an introduction to the Red Cross in the Baltic Sea Region and its capacities and form a basis for a conversation between domestic emergency management agencies, civil protection authorities and Red Cross National Societies as auxiliaries to their governments. All capacities and activities of Red Cross National Societies are summarized tables, to provide a quick overview. Countries are compared based on their resources and activities.

Furthermore, the document includes the description of different profiles about each project “BALTPREP” partner (Finnish, Danish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and German RC national societies): general overview, data, activities, programs, especially focusing on preparedness and response skills in major accidents and disasters.

Every reader of an overview has the opportunity to read more about the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and to get the understanding why the Movement is so unique.

The document also describes the EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). At the beginning of February 2020 “BALTPREP” has been granted flagship status by the EUSBSR). The flagship status demonstrates the importance of the good work the project has been doing in strengthening the regional response capacity and collaboration between the Red Cross and the civil protection authorities in the Baltic Sea region. More information about the status is found here.

Full version of the overview can be found here:

OVERVIEW OF RED CROSS CAPACITIES IN THE BALTIC SEA REGION


“BALTPREP” has been granted flagship status by the EUSBSR

Published on 27.03.2020.

During the hard times of responding to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in the World, the Red Cross national societies are continuing to work in providing support to people in need locally and also by working on international projects. One of such projects where activities are ongoing is “BALTPREP” – its goal is to increase the emergency preparedness and response in the Baltic Sea Region.

The project “BALTPREP- enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region” has been granted flagship status by the EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The decision was made on February, 5 by the National Coordinators of the EU Strategy for EUSBSR. Projects and processes named Flagships of the EUSBSR demonstrate especially well the progress of this EU Strategy.

The flagship status demonstrates the importance of the good work the project has been doing in strengthening the regional response capacity and collaboration between the Red Cross and the civil protection authorities in the Baltic Sea region, explains Eeva Maijala from the Finnish Red Cross. Together with other RC national societies in Baltic Sea region, also Latvian Red Cross is active in participating in this project.

By the end of the project Civil Protection Authorities, communities and the Red Cross National Societies benefit from improved coordination, quality and interoperability of response capacities and more efficient and standardized assistance in case of an emergency. 

The EUSBSR is the first Macro-regional Strategy in Europe. The Strategy is an agreement between eight member states of the European Union and the European Commission to strengthen cooperation between the countries bordering the Baltic Sea in order to meet the common challenges and to benefit from common opportunities facing the region.

The Strategy is divided into three objectives, which represent three key challenges: 1) saving the sea, 2) connecting the region and 3) increasing prosperity. Each objective relates to a wide range of policies and has an impact on the other objectives. There are 13 policy areas within the strategy, the BALTREP project being under the project area Secure. 

There are no new funding or institutions to support the implementation of this Strategy, as it is based on effective and more coordinated use of existing funding sources, and the promotion of synergies and complementarities. The EUSBSR is implemented in concrete joint projects and processes.

BALTREP gathers Red Cross National Societies from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark to strengthen collaboration and regional preparedness. Russian and Swedish Red Cross Societies also participate in the project activities. The project is funded by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. 


LatRC participates at the international meeting within “BALTPREP” project in Berlin, Germany

Published on 09.10.2019.

On 27 September, 2019, within the international project “BALTPREP – enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region” representative of the Latvian Red Cross (LatRC) joined a project group meeting in Berlin, Germany.

The team was working on preparing a regional preparedness plan. It should be useful and important tool to strengthen the cooperation among the Red Cross national societies in Baltic Sea region.

to The plan will decribe the order of how to organise exchanging information and requesting and receiving help in case of disaster situations and emergencies (or their threats). It will also include guidelines of coordination of response events among Red Cross national societies in Baltics Sea Region.

All Red Cross National Societies working in the Baltic Sea Region were present in the meeting, either in person or online.

The project partners are 7 EU member states in Baltic Sea macro-region: Finnish Red Cross (leading organization), Estonian Red Cross, Latvian Red Cross, Lithuanian Red Cross, Polish Red Cross, German Red Cross, Danish Red Cross.

Published on 03.09.2019.

On 4. – 11. August, 2019 within the international project “BALTPREP – enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region” 22 participants from 8 Red Cross National Societies attended the Regional Disaster Response Team training to learn about disaster response in the Baltic Sea region.The training took place in Finland at the Finnish Red Cross Training centre Nynäs in Heinola.
The Regional Disaster Response Teams (RDRT) was designed as IFRC´s globally standardised response tool that can be activated by IFRC after a request from any Red Cross National Society (RCNS) whose national resources and capacities are being stretched. RDRT teams are composed of RCNS staff and volunteers, who assist National Societies in their region, often with the benefit of relevant language skills and a solid cultural and contextual understanding.

This RDRT course was Baltic Sea Region specific. BSR covers a significant area of northern Europe and its EU member countries represent nearly a fifth of the EU population. Over the past few years, issues of preparedness have emerged strongly in the region. The region shares common features and challenges, including similar risks of emergencies and crisis that can have national but also regional implications. An example of such regional disaster was the sinking of the passenger ferry MS Estonia in 1994.

More information about the training please see below in the video.


Published on 08.08.2019.

Within the umbrella of the BALTPREP project, the first meeting of a newly established Baltic Sea Region Disaster Management Technical Working Group took place in Helsinki on 7 June, 2019.

The forum is meant for peer learning, exchange of knowledge and support as well as to ensure cooperation of the Baltic Sea region National Societies in the field of disaster management.

All Red Cross National Societies working in the Baltic Sea Region were present in the meeting, either in person or online. This platform will support the regional Red Cross National Societies in exchanging disaster management knowledge and experience.

In the first meeting, the group discussed the current status of cooperation agreements and preparedness plans of the National Societies, paving way for next steps for increased connections to partners in domestic and regional fora.

Project partners, 7 EU member states in Baltic Sea macro-region: Finnish Red Cross (leading organization), Estonian Red Cross, Latvian Red Cross, Lithuanian Red Cross, Polish Red Cross, German Red Cross, Danish Red Cross.

On 26 March, 2019, representatives of Latvian Red Cross went to Helsinki, Finland to join project BALTPREP (Enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region) opening event, where project team met with civil protection authorities and other sectoral experts. The guest organizations were Estonian Rescue Centre, Danish Emergency Management Agency DEMA, Finnish Ministry of Interior, Finnish Border Guard, Social Emergency and Crisis Centre, Vantaa and Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired.BALTPREP team, consisting of seven Baltic Sea region Red Cross national societies, presented their project and discussed issues pertaining to civil protection and regional cooperation with civil protection authorities from Denmark, Estonia and Finland.It makes sense to cooperate more and learn from each other – both domestically and regionally

Civil protection authorities raised the importance of continued information sharing and exhange with civil society. They valued existing joint planning, exercises and training with Red Cross national societies, and saw potential in enhancing the cooperation. For example, the Red Cross national societies could be a potential partner regarding the management of spontaneous volunteers. The support that a volunteer-based organization offers to civil protection authorities was acknowledged, albeit the context differs in the Baltic Sea region from country to country. The legal architecture framing the cooperation, for example, is dissimilar in different countries in the Baltic Sea region. Civil protection authorities’ panel discussion on cooperation with Red Cross National Societies was led by Senior Specialist at the Finnish Ministry of Interior, Jari Honkanen. The participants were Head of section in DEMA Stine Bentien Hundebol, Leading Specialist in Western Rescue Center Eimar Täht from Estonia, and Reetta Voutilainen from Social Emergency and Crisis Centre, Vantaa in Finland. Photo: Finnish Red Cross.
The kick-off event was opened by the Director of International Operations and Programmes of Finnish Red Cross Kalle Löövi who expressed the intent to increase information sharing in the Nordic and Baltic regions. The closing words were given by the Head of International Disaster Management Unit Tiina Saarikoski who noted that the regional work started by BALTPREP will continue also after the project.


LatRC together with other RC national societies in Baltic Sea Region starts the implemetation of international project BALTPREP

Published on 10.01.2019.

On 1 January 2019 Finnish Red Cross together with the Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish, German and Dannish Red Cross national societies started the implematation of the international project “BALTPREP – enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region”

The general objective is to improve and optimize quality and interoperability of the Red Cross and Civil Protection Authorities regional response capacity for major accidents and severe disruptions.

The project is implemented in Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

The Baltic Sea region (BSR) covers a significant area of northern Europe and its EU member countries representing nearly a fifth of the EU population. Over the past few years, issues of preparedness have emerged strongly in the region. The BALTPREP – Enhancing regional preparedness and response capacity for major accidents in the Baltic Sea region project improves and optimizes quality and interoperability of the Red Cross and Civil Protection Authorities regional response capacity for major accidents and severe disruptions. The project strengthens collaboration in and between 7 EU member states: Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.