Preparedness at the Ministry of the Environment

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for managing, monitoring and coordinating the environmental administration’s preparedness for disruptions in both normal and emergency conditions. Preparedness ensures a minimum interruption of activities in all situations.

The Security Strategy for Society (YTS 2017; Government resolution of 2 November 2017) lays the groundwork for preparedness at the Ministry of the Environment. The Security Strategy for Society defines the environmental administration's essential tasks in special situations, in both normal and emergency conditions.


Examples of disruptions significant to the Ministry of the Environment include:

  • major contamination of a land or sea area
  • a land, sea or air traffic accident
  • an accident relating to hazardous materials
  • a serious animal or plant disease outbreak
  • mass extinction of species
  • a disruption in the water supply (incl. wastewater management)
  • a disruption in waste management

Emergency conditions and the Emergency Powers Act

Authorities must ensure that they can carry out their duties functions with minimal interruptions even in emergency conditions. Emergency conditions are defined in the Emergency Powers Act and include, for instance, particularly severe major accidents. The Emergency Powers Act lays down provisions on the power of authorities in emergency conditions.

Preparedness organisation

The Ministry of the Environment has a standing group led by the Ministry's Head of Preparedness. The standing group coordinates contingency planning at the Ministry.

The Ministry also maintains an emergency standby duty for special situations. In the event of a serious emergency, the Ministry sets up a crisis group to respond to the situation.

In emergency situations, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) functions as an expert agency. SYKE’s areas of expertise include environmental incidents and states of emergency related to the environment, significant environmental damage caused by accidents, and other situations requiring urgent expert assistance and communication that fall under SYKE’s area of responsibility. SYKE maintains a 24-hour standby duty with a dedicated telephone number intended only for communications between authorities.

The Ministry of the Environment's Head of Preparedness

Teppo Lehtinen
Director General
[email protected]