Latvia: Capabilities, Organisations, Policies, and Legislation in crisis management and disaster response

Publication Type:



IT4Sec Reports, Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Number 125, Sofia (2015)


centralisation, Civil protection, disaster preparedness, disaster response, Latvia, Ministry of Interior, State Fire and Rescue Service


Latvia is a Parliamentary republic where the President is the Head of State. The President is elected by the Parliament (Saeima). The Government, or the Cabinet of Ministers, is appointed by the President, approved by the Parliament and led by the Prime Minister. There is no regional government level as territorially Latvia is divided into 109 rural municipalities and 9 cities under state jurisdiction. These two main types of municipalities are led by municipal council.

The National Security Concept is a strategic document based on analysis of national threat stating principles for prevention of threats, priorities and measures, which must be taken into account when executing new political planning documents, legislative enactments and action plans in the area of national security. The priorities determined in the Concept provide the basis for the development of the National Security Plan by the Cabinet of Ministers.

As in the other Baltic Region States the organisational structure is centralised, i.e. coordinated and mostly organised by the central national civil protection authority, as is the case with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Additionally, the use of private rescue services is low in the Baltic Countries.

The Prime Minister has the responsibility for the continuous function of the operation of the crisis management system and for the implementation of the related tasks and obligations. The State Fire and Rescue Service, an organisation directly subordinated to the Ministry of Interior, plans, coordinates, leads and controls the civil protection operations. The State Fire and Rescue Service has significant responsibility for crisis management at national level.

At local level the municipal authorities are responsible for establishing and managing the Civil Protection Commission of the municipalities and cities. The Commission coordinates civil protection measures in crisis situations in their respective administrative territories.

The civil protection framework of Latvia foresees the involvement of military forces in support of civil authorities during peacetime emergencies. Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the cooperation with the European Union as it implements and coordinates the state external security policy. Cross-border and international collaboration is also organised through the Monitoring and Information Centre operated by the European Commission.

The systems for training in the field of civil protection are quite different in the Baltic region; however they share some basic features. Education in civil protection and rescue has a legal foundation in all of the Baltic Region countries. Basic and advanced education at the national level is standardised through the use of certificates, as well as the development of educational and training curricula. All of the Baltic region states have specialised schools and colleges which carry out education in civil protection and rescue area.

Potential niche capability that could be filled by Latvia and represent interest to EU crisis management structures is the development of single crisis information systems. The Latvian civil security institutions are looking to improve cooperation in the field of crisis management as they are exploiting new ways for cooperation for the creation of a unified national information system.

Last updated: Tuesday, 30 June 2015