How prepared are we for oiled wildlife response?
This is a question regularly considered by the HELCOM Response (Baltic Sea Area) Expert Working Group on Oiled Wildlife Response (EWR-OWR), chaired by Sea Alarm.
To help with making an accurate assessment of their level of preparedness, the Working Group decided to develop a self-assessment tool to aid countries in gauging and reporting on their progress toward preparedness for response to oiled wildlife.
The tool, which was developed by Sea Alarm in close consultation with the EWR-OWR, has been approved as the basis for reporting to HELCOM Contracting Parties and also provides a method for these countries to assess and qualify their own preparedness systems for oiled wildlife response.
Individual countries or government agencies can rate their preparedness using the tool, which can be downloaded from the Sea Alarm website (see A multi-stakeholder approach to implementing wildlife response preparedness-including self-assessment tool in our Publications:Conference Reports and Proceedings section) The tool is based on five pillars of preparedness:
- Planning and Integration
- Equipment and facilities
- Partnering and funding
Users score themselves according to set criteria in each of the five pillars, providing them with a picture of their strengths and weaknesses, and pinpointing best use of resources for improving response preparedness. While the tool is not the only method available for measuring preparedness, if filled in honestly, incorporating views of all relevant stakeholders, it does provide a useful framework for evaluation and monitoring progress from year to year.
As a first iteration, the tool is presently semi-quantitative and will benefit from further refinement as users give input on their experience with it. In addition to the EWR-OWR, the Bonn Agreement’s OTSOPA Technical Group has adopted the tool for reporting progress of North Sea Member States on oiled wildlife preparedness.
Sea Alarm also presented the tool at the 39th AMOP (Arctic and Marine Oilspill Program) Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response in Canada in June to share the concept with a wider audience.