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Working on an operation

The MSB needs you if you feel a strong commitment toward your fellow man and if you want to enhance your knowledge and contribute to helping the victims of armed conflicts and disasters.

The MSB works everyday with the recruitment for our operations around the world, and has a lot of experience in collaborating with, and supporting, other organisations such as the UN and the EU, during disasters and armed conflicts.


The MSB has a mandate from the Swedish government to maintain a level of preparedness for international aid and disaster response operations. The first operation was carried out in 1988 by the forerunner to the MSB, the Swedish Rescue Services Agency.

Since then, more than 4,200 people have been recruited for more than 700 missions in over 100 countries.

Most of them have been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and were undertaken on behalf of the UN. The support that MSB provides to organisations such as the UN and the EU is aimed at increasing their ability to maintain a field presence and work efficiently during disasters and armed conflicts.

The nature of these operations continues to vary greatly, but the most common type is when the MSB provides support for UN personnel in the form of workplaces, housing and specialist competence. The MSB also dispatches various kinds of teams to affected areas and supports the rebuilding and recovery of damaged infrastructure.

Registered on the MSB roster

All our operations are carefully adapted in accordance with the operational description provided by a country or organisation. To work on an MSB operation you must first have been approved and registered on the MSB roster, which consists of individuals who have been quality assured and who are competent in all sorts of different areas.

When an operation is less urgent and there is more time for the recruitment process MSB will advertise the specific position.

Read more about how to apply for the roster or for a specific post

Individuals registered on the roster are able to benefit from the range of MSB training courses. We view it as preferable that everyone registered on the roster have undergone at least the induction course before deployment. The MSB works proactively to increase the proportion of women both among registered on the roster and among those working on operations.

Working on an operation may be viewed by many as a personal challenge that will constitute an experience for life.

MSB areas of responsibility

Humanitarian operations

In this field the MSB supports primarily the UN, in the form of equipment and field staff, who, for example, can set up and manage the operation of base camps and water purification plants and also handle complex logistics. The MSB can also offer expert support within a wide area that covers such matters as logistics, IT, water and sanitation, and environmental concerns.

Capacity development

In this field the MSB can provide support (via the UN or bilaterally) to a country to upgrade its own ability to cope with disasters. The MSB can support its cooperation partners with, for example, the following: risk analysis and evaluation, urban planning, flood defences, and programmes to create public awareness of various risks.

The MSB has, for example, provided several training courses in the field of emergency response.  

Early recovery

Destroyed infrastructure restricts a country’s development and the capacity to provide aid. Working on improving damaged infrastructure restores societal functions that are essential for continued development.

MSB field staff have been involved in such operations as building temporary bridges, roads, schools and hospitals in close cooperation with public authorities, organisations and  people in conflict-ridden areas. 

Humanitarian demining

Demining in an international context is known as Mine Action, which is a general term for a number of different operations. In general it involves reducing the direct threat that land mines and unexploded ammunition (UXO) pose to the civilian population of affected countries and regions. This also includes mitigating the negative effect of mines and UXO on development and rebuilding.  

Rescuing Swedish residents in peril overseas

The SRT (Swedish Response Team) was established to allow Sweden to rapidly assist those domiciled in Sweden who have become victims of a serious incident overseas, and it should be able at short notice to support overseas public authorities and the victims. It is a flexible force that is assembled on the basis of the needs that arise.  


SWIFT is a rapid response team that can be dispatched at very short notice, and immediately an earthquake has occurred the MSB can deploy a SAR team to comb an affected area and rescue survivors.

Peace-promoting missions for the EU and ESFP

Operations of this type include supporting different kinds of civil peace-promoting missions in areas affected by crisis or conflict. These may involve different roles in a conflict-ridden area such as support for the establishment of a functioning, democratic police authority, or the supervision of the disarming and demobilisation of former parties to the conflict. The role of the MSB is to contribute support measures for ESFP missions, for example, administrative support, housing, offices, transport, logistics, ICT and individual experts within its core areas.

Different mission types

The MSB supports its partner organisations in various ways. Sometimes in the form of individual experts who are provided through what is termed secondment, while in other cases an entire team is deployed, for example, in order to establish a base camp. However, this may also involve larger groups of staff running long-term projects, such as assisting the authorities in disaster prevention or management.

Latest reviewed: 3 June 2019

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