On Thursday 7th May the Government of Sweden via the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) was awarded the international Green Star Award. The motivation for this is the consideration that has been given to environmental issues by the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA), now integrated into the MSB, during many years of international work preparing for and responding to international emergencies.
Kjell Larsson, Nils Svartz and Leif Jönsson, MSB.The award was presented in Brussels in connection with an international environmental meeting.
This is the first time the international Green Star Award has been awarded. It is awarded to two countries, two organisations, and two individuals.
Sweden and Netherlands are the two countries that have been awarded.
The award jury is assembled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and Green Cross International (GCI).
“We have every reason to be proud,” said Kjell Larsson, Head of Operations Section, MSB, who accepted the award in Brussels along with MSB Deputy Director General Nils Svartz and Leif Jönsson, Operations Section, MSB.
Focus on environmental work during all operations
“We are getting the award, along with Sida, because we have been one of the most prominent actors in striving to maintain a preparedness for and response to disasters and emergencies around the world.”
Among other aspects the jury emphasised the Rosersberg Initiative, which was hatched at a meeting held by the SRSA in June 2007, where the international community seriously discussed global environmental goals for operations for disasters.
“We are also being awarded because of our international training courses in the environmental field. But also for many of the operations we have executed as a result of hurricanes and floods, for example in Jamaica, Honduras, Burma and the Philippines. And also the Triplex exercise in autumn 2008,” said Kjell Larsson.
“Consideration for the environment permeates all our operations. It is a question that cuts straight through every layer and level of our work. For us it has been important to have good equipment and to execute satisfactory operations, but at the same time with a great deal of focus on environmental issues.”
Important to have a holistic approach
“Of course there are many colleagues who deserve this honour, but primarily Leif Jönsson who has been a fantastic driving force in our international environmental work. He has the know-how and the rest of us the desire, an unbeatable combination,” said Kjell Larsson.
“This award is an important confirmation that all the environmental work that has been done and that has been the foundation for our operations truly holds its own and speaks for itself. It proves that one can have a good image and a high standard.
For our part it is important to work with an entirety. This might perhaps inspire others to work with an entirety rather than just on their own little patch. Apart from environmental considerations we also have other issues that cut straight through and which are permanently present in our work, for example, the approach towards handicapped people during disaster work, because they are an extremely exposed and vulnerable group.”
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