Great conditions for increased willingness to defend
Sweden is a great country to live in. That is the prevailing opinion, regardless of age or income level. In addition, almost everyone thinks it’s a given to help out in case an accident or crisis, a new survey from MSB shows. It was conducted ahead of a campaign for increased willingness to defend the country: We have it in us if the crisis or war comes.
There are great conditions for increased civil resilience and defence within the Swedish population, a new study from The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) shows. The survey was conducted by research company Kantar Public between the 22nd and 25th of October 2022.
- 94 percent of the population between 16 and 70 years old answered yes to the question “Do you think Sweden is a good country to live in?”.
- 77 percent say that it is a given to help others in case of an accident or a crisis. That number rises to 90 percent if we include those who say it is a given to help someone they know.
- 37 percent say that they have home preparedness for one week in case a crisis should arise. That is a higher number than previous surveys from MSB.
– The fact that so many want to help others when something happens is a great asset to our country. Now, Sweden is strengthening both its civil and military defence in order to be better prepared for different kinds of threats. Therefore, it is great to see more people evaluate their emergency preparedness at home. The more people are being prepared, the stronger Sweden’s collective preparedness will be, says Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, director general at MSB.
Increased resilience and sense of civil defence duty
Part of the mission of The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency is to strengthen the population’s resilience and willingness to defend, meaning that as many people as possible can and want to protect our country and democratic rights – even if that requires making tough sacrifices.
As part of this mission, an information campaign was launched this past summer in order to get more people to increase their emergency preparedness to last one week at home. The annual event Krisberedskapsveckan (“Crisis Preparedness week”) is held to serve that same purpose. Now, MSB is launching of a new information campaign to increase our collective willingness to defend our country.
The will to defend Sweden is strengthened by the fact that many people think Sweden is a good country to live in. Another important factor is that people have a perceived duty to our collective preparedness and understand their role in it.
– The will to help each other exists within everyone. The crises that Sweden has gone through, including forest fires, the terror attack at Drottningatan in Stockholm, and the pandemic, has showed that many have a strong will and ability to help others when our society is threatened, says Charlotte Petri Gornitzka.
A lack of knowledge around civil defence
The campaign that MSB is now launching serves to increase the sense of duty to the civil defence within the population through highlighting:
- The will within each of us to help others and join together when threatened
- The fact that everyone is needed as a part of the civil defence – unless you already have a role in our military defence
- Sweden’s total defence duty
The study shows that only half of the respondents know that they are a part of Sweden’s emergency preparedness, and many lack knowledge of what civil defence and total defence duty means.
– It is important to understand your role and what you can do to help in case of a crisis or war, in order to feel a part of Sweden’s national preparedness. We need to get better at informing people about how Sweden’s total defence works, says Christina Andersson, risk communicator at MSB.
Higher interest in emergency preparedness
MSB and The Swedish Armed Forces, as well as the voluntary defence organizations, have noticed an increased public interest in both Sweden’s and their personal emergency preparedness. At the same time, more people are worried about the security policy situation, and what it could mean for Sweden and their own households.
– We need to help each other spread useful and concrete information that people can act and base their decisions on, for example about potential threats, how to get involved in the total defence, increase emergency preparedness in the home, and other ways to contribute to Sweden’s national preparedness, says Christina Andersson.
A duty to contribute
In Sweden, we employ a system of total defence duty. That means everyone between 16 and 70 years of age who live in Sweden can be called up to do their part if the country is at the risk of, or in, a war. Our total defence consists of two parts:
- The military defence is responsible for defending our country and our borders. Only people with military background (for example a military education or prior service) carry weapons and take part in any fighting.
- The civil defence is responsible for keeping societal functions working even when we are at the risk of war, or during a war, for example healthcare, childcare, and transportation, as well as access to water, heating, and food. If you already work in these areas, you will most likely stay where you are. If not, you might be instructed to help out wherever needed, for example handing out water and food.
The campaign We have it in us if crisis or war comes will run through November and December 2022.